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DoT firm on spectrum approach; GSM lobby split

Communication Minister informs the PM that Cellular Operators Association was misleading the nation against 'scientific approach' on frequency allocation.

business Updated: Nov 04, 2007 14:22 IST

Amid drama on high stake spectrum, Communication Minister A Raja informed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Cellular Operators Association was misleading the nation against 'scientific approach' on frequency allocation.

Ahead of Bharti Airtel Chief Sunil Mittal's petition to Singh for his intervention, Raja sent a letter to the Prime Minister's office on Friday informing about the ministry's approach and later in the night replied to all the queries from the PMO.

In fact, Raja's communication exposed the divide in the powerful COAI, which challenged the usage of dual technology and spectrum allocation at the apex tribunal TDSAT, saying "operators have openly admitted that the COAI had misled them, media and the public in general." Raja said that he was following all the issues including those in the regime of his predecessor Dayanidhi Maran as "honest endeavours" aimed at developing the telecom sector, increase the teledensity and "lower the tariff for the benefit of the public in general and customers in particular." Anil Ambani group and Tatas had sought to take benefit of the dual technology immediately after the announcement of the new policy mechanism, a move that provoked COAI into action for the fear that its members including Vodafone, Birla's Idea and Modi's Spice would be put at a 'disadvantage'.

However, Raja's letter said that Airtel and Spice Telecom had disassociated with the COAI's petition after getting clarification from him.

There are speculations that some other members of COAI may follow suit, leaving Bharti with just a few supporters.

Sunil Mittal could not be contacted for comments despite several attempts.