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Bharti offers more for spectrum

The TTL takes DoT to court, asking that GSM incumbents must return excess spectrum, reports Archana Khatri.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2007 02:37 IST

In the latest salvo in the corporate war for spectrum, Tata Teleservices (TTL) took the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to court on Monday, asking that GSM incumbents must return excess spectrum as part of a plea for a level-playing field between GSM and CDMA-technology based operators. But GSM player Bharti Airtel opened a new chapter, offering more money to the government for spectrum.

Tata Tele in its petition with telecom tribunal TDSAT asked DoT to withdraw spectrum from incumbent operators in excess of 6.2MHz. The company has also sought level-playing-field saying both CDMA and GSM spectrum must be equally measured in megahertz terms.

TTL’s petition comes after another CDMA operator, Reliance Communications, filed an application under the Right To Information Act to elicit information in the manner additional spectrum beyond the initial allocation of 4.4 MHz. Earlier, company chairman Anil Ambani had also written to the Prime Minister for a national spectrum policy.

While the CDMA players may have increased the pressure on the Department of Telecommunications, the authority is finding it tough to arrive at consensus on spectrum allocation criteria linked to subscriber growth. A meeting of its panel on the issue remained inconclusive on Monday.

Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel turned aggressive in seeking more spectrum. In a letter to DoT secretary D.S. Mathur, Akhil Gupta, Joint Managing Director of Bharti Airtel, wrote that attempts were being made by CDMA operators to choke the GSM operators of their spectrum needs, and asked for additional 4.4 MHz spectrum for all the circle areas at a fee higher than the stipulated fee of Rs 1,650 crore.