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PM's intervention on spectrum sought

CDMA operators have sought Manmohan Singh's intervention for devising a mechanism to get spectrum vacated from defence authorities.

business Updated: Aug 27, 2005 13:47 IST

The CDMA operators' association, which includes Reliance Infocomm and Tata Indicom, has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention for devising a mechanism to get spectrum vacated from defence authorities and have it distributed among telecom companies for commercial use on a non-discriminatory basis.

"To accommodate the needs of the industry, the spectrum policy should institute a clear cut mechanism to refarm spectrum from defence to the business/commercial segment. Since refarming of spectrum is a sensitive issue your kind intervention is critical to ensure it is implemented," the association AUSPI said in a letter to Singh.

On the issue of allocation of spectrum, a policy being prepared by the Department of Telecom (DoT), the association said "the urgent need is to maintain complete parity among all types of players offering services using different technologies while allocating spectrum".

"All technologies and system, like CDMA and GSM, should be treated alike and without discrimination. The policy should be such that spectrum is allocated in those bands where equipments and handsets are available from multiple vendors," the letter added.

As per the draft spectrum policy, CDMA operators with 10 lakh subscribers each in Delhi and Mumbai would get 5 Mhz spectrum, while the same subscriber base could fetch GSM operators like Bharti, Hutch and Idea 10 Mhz. The draft had proposed this under the assumption that CDMA technology was 'more efficient' in spectrum utilisation than GSM technology.

The Draft spectrum policy report also proposed that IMT-2000 2Ghz band be allocated for providing 3G services.

The spectrum in 1900 band would not be allocated to anyone as it was being used by defence, it alleged, adding that "In most of the countries, the 1,900 Mhz band is used for 3G services".

On the contentious issue of access deficit charge - a levy paid by private mobile operators to BSNL for its 'unremunerative' services - AUSPI said "It is a huge burden on the industry and needs to be removed immediately. In the worst case scenario, a definite sunset clause has to be fixed for phasing out the ADC regime."

The association said an alternative payment mechanism like revenue sharing could be implemented.

On tariffs, the association said there was no need to tinker with the market. "The flexibility and freedom that exists today for operators to set tariffs in the marketplace should not be removed or tinkered with since this will harm the overall interests of both subscribers and the operators".

"Any policy or Government level diktats on tariffs would serve to jeopardise the expansion of telecom services into rural and remote areas to the detriment of the nation.. We request you to help ensure that this does not change and the regulator continues to have the final say on tariffs", it said.

Giving its suggestions on international termination rates, AUSPI, however, said it should continue to be fixed.

"These rates should not be left to market forces to negotiate because it has the capability of severely distorting the equilibrium and causing confusion in the market," it said.

First Published: Aug 26, 2005 17:22 IST