Telecom aspirants who plan to start offering mobile telephony have inched closer to getting spectrum from the Department of Telecommunications. The wireless planning and coordination, or the WPC, division in the department has informed Communications Minister A Raja that additional spectrum is available for 4 to 5 new players in southern India, an official in the department said.
According to WPC, such spectrum could be released companies wanting to foray into mobile phone services, The minister has yet to approve the proposal, the official said.
Videocon-owned Datacom, realty company Unitech’s newly set-up telecom subsidiary, Idea cellular are among the companies that feature on the priority list of the telecom department for spectrum allocation.
“The DoT will start allocating spectrum in the four southern states, followed by some other states like Maharashtra, Orissa and Bihar,” DoT officials said on Tuesday. The DoT has divided the country into three categories with circles that have spectrum in abundance, little and no spectrum at all, officials said.
According to sources, the availability of spectrum in the range of 50-60 MHz in nine states was sufficient to accommodate new players as well as demand from existing operators. However, in some important circles like Delhi, only one new player was likely to be alloted spectrum initially. Going by the first-come-first-serve policy announced by Raja, Swan Telecom would be the first one to get spectrum in Delhi ahead of others, while Datacom would be considered if frequency was released by the Defence authorities, a matter that was being pursued by the DoT.
Some existing players have objected to the move on condition that the allocation of spectrum at this juncture would be illegal since the matter was subjudice. However, DoT officials said neither the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal nor the Delhi High Court had stayed the process of spectrum allocation.
(With agency inputs)