Tatas protest new mobile frequency allocation proposal

Wednesday, 05 December 2007, 12:49 Hrs
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New Delhi: The spat over allocation of scarce radio waves to mobile telecom operators continued to simmer with Tata Telservices (TTSL) on Tuesday joining other major companies in rejecting the government's proposal unveiled a day earlier.

The department of telecommunications (DoT) on Monday proposed 10 MHz of frequency for service providers using GSM technology and 5 MHz for those offering their services based on CDMA technology.

By doing so, the DoT went back on its own suggestion made earlier regarding subscriber-based allocation, which would have enabled operators to get more than 6.2 MHz.

TTSL and Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications (RCOM) are the major players in CDMA services while Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea are the dominant players in the GSM segment.

State run BSNL also has a major presence in the GSM segment with ambitious plans in the CDMA market as well.

"It is very dismaying that the proposal again talks about spectrum allocation which is 2:1 in favour of GSM," Anil Sardana, managing director, TTSL, said in a statement.

"Additionally, for the same number of customers that TTSL has now, some of the large GSM operators had more than double the spectrum when they held same spectrum, by virtue of which such GSM operators have saved thousands of crores of rupees of capital investments," Sardana added.

TTSL, like RCOM, has demanded GSM operators surrender additional spectrum beyond the contractual amount of 6.2 Mhz.

"The differentiation between GSM and CDMA technologies must end; there must be strict adherence to the government's stated policy of technology neutrality," said Sardana.

This means that GSM and CDMA operators must receive the same amount of upfront spectrum and same amount of contracted spectrum for which the government should change license conditions immediately, lest the stated position of the government would see no interest in a particular technology and interest in the other," he added.

The panel on spectrum allocation has already met thrice with no significant headway made.

The efforts of the Communications Ministry to resolve this vexed issue amicably among mobile telephone operators will continue over the next couple of days with a series of meetings planned among operators, the regulator and the agency that monitors allocation of spectrum.

Meanwhile, a non-government organisation (NGO) - Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar - filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court, seeking spectrum allocation through auction, rather than through preferential and other routes.
Source: IANS
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