There was a direct confrontation between the new GSM players led by Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications (RCOM) and the old players Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Aircel on the issue of spectrum allocation and efficient use of spectrum on the first day of open house session held by the telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) on Monday. The new GSM players also include Etisalat, Unitech, and Datacom.
The three-day open house session on the issues related to the allotment, pricing and efficiency of spectrum began on Monday.
The new operators said that GSM operators do not need more than 6.2 MHz of spectrum to run operations in a circle. “The government should withdraw any spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz already allotted to the old telecom players,” said a representative of a new operator.
The new operators have been allotted only 4.4 MHz of spectrum. Under the subscriber linked criteria of allotting spectrum, old players like Airtel and Vodafone have up to 12 MHz of spectrum in places like Delhi and Mumbai.
The new operators want that the spectrum withdrawn from the old operators should be allotted to the new operators as this will create a level playing field.
The attack on the old players was led by N.K. Mangla, head of regulations, RCOM.
The old operators strongly opposed it. The GSM operators argued that these are the same players, who did not participate in the GSM auction in 1994-95 & 2001. Instead they chose the CDMA technology as it was more efficient.
TV Ramachandran of Vodafone, Narendra Gupta of Airtel and Rajat Mukherjee of Idea defended the old telecom service providers.