Jan 29, 2009

Business - India;TRAI wants more than one CDMA player to get 3G spectrum

New Delhi, Jan. 28 The telecom regulator has told the Government that it should explore allotting 3G spectrum to more than one CDMA-based mobile operator.

There are four CDMA-based mobile players in the country for whom the Department of Telecom is yet to specify the roadmap for adoption third generation mobile technology.

As of now, the DoT is planning to auction spectrum to only one CDMA player as it does not have spectrum to accommodate more players. However, the telecom regulator has suggested that optimum utilisation of existing users in the 800 Mhz band could free up enough spectrum for one more player.

Ensuring Competition

“The authority understands that it is perhaps possible to identify more than one carrier in the 800-MHz band. It is all the more imperative as there are more than two access service providers in this category of technology for competition. Therefore, the authority recommends DoT may explore more than one block in the 800-MHz band for CDMA 3G services,” TRAI said.

The recently announced information memorandum for 3G auction had not specified the policy for CDMA players.

The Association of Unified Telecom Service Provider had written to the Government that limiting 3G auction to GSM operators would destroy the level playing field.

Policy call

Sistema Shyam, one of the new operators, had also written to the DoT to spell out the policy for CDMA operators. The company said that harmonisation of 800 Mhz band should be done after the auction is over. Subsequently, the DoT decided to auction one slot in the 800 Mhz band for CDMA players and sought TRAI’s views on pricing and allocation method.

In its recommendation, TRAI on Wednesday said that only existing CDMA players may be allowed to participate in the auction. It also said that the price of this spectrum should be 25 per cent of the amount paid by the GSM players during their auction to be held in February.

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