Forget call drops. Disappearing messages and delay in accessing data services are likely to be the next set of problems to emerge for the Indian mobile consumer.
And all these because of lack of clarity over spectrum sharing and spectrum trading guidelines.
Spectrum refers to airwaves that carry voice and data from one mobile device to another.
Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd-promoted MTS, which provides mobile broadband services in the country, has cautioned that data services of all operators would deteriorate, if the government did not come out with guidelines soon.
Spectrum sharing will allow operators to pool airwaves and thereby help improve telecom service efficiency. Sharing will also provide additional network capacities in places where there is network congestion due to spectrum crunch.
“Absence of guidelines for spectrum sharing is a serious challenge for us…other operators focusing on data will also face the crunch,” Dmitry Shukov, MTS CEO, told HT.
Clarity in spectrum sharing and trading, Shukov said, will trigger partnerships among operators. Pooling of spectrum will also improve quality of service and reduce the need to install more towers, Shukov added.
The company has improved the contribution of its non-voice revenues in total revenues from 35.3% to 51% in 2014.
The average non-voice revenues of Reliance Communications, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone ranges from 23-25%.
“It is important that we maintain good revenue to offer better quality of service… Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given good direction for data usage in Digital India, but it has to be executed now, it cannot be delayed anymore,” said Shukov.
He also highlighted the need for the government to step in to resolve problems pertaining to the installation of cell towers in the country. “It is critical that government should spell out directives to local bodies, so that towers can be set up for improving the quality of service.”
The telecom sector needs foreign investments and lack of clarity in critical policies can be detrimental to the sector’s growth, Shukov said. He urged the government to help operators build next-generation network with clear policy guidelines.