Spectrum panel meet fails to resolve allocation issue

By siliconindia   |   Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 12:05 Hrs
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New Delhi: The deadlock between the Government and the various factions within the telecom industry over allocation of spectrum continues even as the panel set up by the Communications Ministry met top representatives of mobile companies on Monday in a bid to decide on the issue.

Sunil Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Group; Anil Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Communications and Arun Sarin, CEO, Vodafone Group made presentations before the committee headed by R. Bandhopadhayay, Additional Secretary, Department of Telecom. The panel, comprising industry representatives, and technical experts from Indian Institute of Technology and C-DoT, was set up to review the subscriber-based spectrum allocation criteria prescribed by the Telecom Engineering Center (TEC).

GSM operators have objected to the implementation of the new norms on the grounds that the numbers suggested were unrealistic, new players in the GSM segment waiting to get spectrum including Reliance, HFCL and Shyam have supported the Government's move to increase the subscriber base criteria.

"We have challenged TEC and TRAI norms for subscriber-linked criteria and told them (the panel) scientifically that it is not correct. We know how to run networks and ignorance cannot be used for changing norms for subscriber criteria. I think that we have presented our case very well," said Mittal said after the meeting.

While Ambani pointed out that GSM operators were not eligible for more than 6.2 MHz spectrum and the Government should ask the existing players to give back excess spectrum.

The panel will meet again on November 30 for the last time before submitting its report to the Communications Ministry. The findings of the panel will be used by the Government to make its final policy decision on spectrum allocation.

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