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Spectrum bias will hit investor sentiment: GSM

GSM operators cry foul over the allocation of fresh spectrum to public sector company BSNL, reports Narayanan Madhavan.
Hindustan Times | By Narayanan Madhavan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 09, 2007 11:18 PM IST

GSM technology-based mobile phone operators, who have already issued a legal notice to the government claiming violation of rules in the allocation of wireless spectrum cried foul on Tuesday over allocation of fresh spectrum to public sector BSNL, and also alleged that rival CDMA players were also spared in a discriminatory regime.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which groups GSM-focused players such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, said such discrimination could hit investor sentiment.

COAI called for an independent study to assess the optimum use of allotted spectrum by CDMA operators, who are led by Reliance and Tata Indicom. “Exercises which disadvantage the industry and single it out for discriminatory and unjust treatment will not only have a severe adverse impact in the market but will also greatly harm investor confidence , both domestic and international,” COAI’s director-general T.V. Ramachandran said in a letter to the secretary of the

Department of Telecommunications (DoT), DS Mathur.

COAI’s latest grouse is the allocation of 10 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum per telecom circle to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), which it says violates entitlement criteria laid down for spectrum allocation.

DoT officials insist that allocation is based on the actual utlisation of previously allocated spectrum which must be used efficiently with the deployment of the best technologies.

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