A war of words has broken out between incumbent telecom operators (including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone) and new GSM operators (mainly Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices).
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) aid on Friday that the government lost about Rs 51,977 crore due to violation of licences by dual technology operators.
A day earlier, the association of unified service providers of India (AUSPI), representing new operators, had said the government should charge a fee from the existing operators for spectrum held beyond 6.2 MHz.The telecom commission had earlier decided that incumbent operators will have to pay for 2G spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz.
“Dual-technology operators are in fact beneficiaries of a decision taken by DoT (department of telecommunications) during September 2007 to March 2008,” said COAI in a statement. “Decisions taken during this period have been held to be illegal by the Supreme Court.
“Further, allocation of dualspectrum during the said period is tantamount to allocation of a second licence to these companies in the same service area, which otherwise is not allowed as per cross holding restrictions... spectrum allocated to dual technology operators should be withdrawn and re-allocated through auction.”
Tata Teleservices and RComm entered GSM after DoT allowed them to offer dual technology, ie, both GSM- and CDMA-based mobile services.
COAI has alleged that dual technology operators have also violated rollout obligations, “deserving the same regulatory measures as is applicable to all other licensees/operators who were allocated GSM spectrum in 2008 and who may have failed to meet the licence rollout obligations.”