The India Department of Telecom (DoT), to preserve competition, has decided to maintain existing rules about the maximum amount of spectrum any single provider can use. The DoT decision means larger telcos often will not be able to share spectrum, or trade spectrum, even when doing so might help alleviate call drop problems and allow those mobile operators to add new capacity quickly, at lower cost. 

Under the existing rules, a telecom operator cannot hold more than 25 per cent of total spectrum assigned to all companies in a circle and over 50 per cent of total spectrum assigned in a particular frequency band.

The decision illustrates how complicated it can be to encourage investment and better service, while also trying to maintain a competitive environment.