3G spectrum: TRAI slammed for CDMA bias

The Cellular Operators Association say the TRAI recommendations on allocation of 3G spectrum favour CDMA operators.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2006 21:02 IST

Cellular Operators Association on Thursday said that telecom regulator TRAI's recommendations on allocation of 3G spectrum were completely in favour of CDMA mobile operators and also criticised high base price of frequency.

"On the whole, the TRAI recommendations are rather slanted in favour of CDMA and disadvantageous to GSM," COAI Director General T V Ramchandran said in a statement.

COAI believes that the route of auction and high reserve price would be very harmful for reaching the benefits of 3G in an affordable manner to the citizens of India, he said adding the Government should seek to enhance its revenues for 3G through usage and not by imposing high initial fees.

The association also expressed concern over TRAI considering 3G as standalone service. "It has already been settled by earlier regulatory consultations that 3G should be viewed as continuous or extension of existing 2G services.

TRAI hadon Wednesday recommended a base price of Rs 15 to Rs 80 crore depending upon the circle and also auction of the spectrum in view of scarce availability.

The COAI, however, welcomed TRAI's views on efficient management of spectrum and endorsed the idea of formation of National Frequency Management Board (NFMB) to coordinate the availability of spectrum.

"This is grossly unfair and incorrect. It should be noted that 800 MHz spectrum is far more valuable than 2.1 GHz because of its far higher propagation characteristics," COAI said.

There is no rationale for giving CDMA an economic advantage by asking them to match only the second highest bid.

"In fact, logically speaking, they should be asked to give a pro-rata premium over the highest winning bid in 2.1 GHz band and also a higher reserve price," Ramchandran said.

The association said in view of the high initial fee there should be no spectrum usage charges as percentage revenue share.

COAI, however, welcomes the fact that the TRAI has taken a serious note of the technical and other issues involved in considering a mixed band plan and thus not recommended it.

The lobby supported TRAI's views to penalise any tendency to spectrum hoarding, Ramchandran said.

First Published: Sep 28, 2006 21:02 IST