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Telcos may soon get to share spectrum

The communications ministry will soon allow telecom service providers to share spectrum with a view to solve the problem of spectrum scarcity. Manoj Gairola reports. Tight squeeze in the airspace

india Updated: Sep 13, 2011 22:42 IST
Manoj Gairola
Manoj Gairola
Hindustan Times

The communications ministry will soon allow telecom service providers to share spectrum. The move is likely to solve the problem of spectrum scarcity as some operators need spectrum, while others have excess spectrum lying ideal.

Communications minister Kapil Sibal told Hindustan Times that the ministry will soon permit the sharing of spectrum.

“Sharing of spectrum results in optimum utilisation of spectrum, which is a scarce national resource,” said BK Syngal, former CMD, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (now Tata Communications).

"This will allow operators to realise the commercial value of their spectrum. Customers will get better quality of services."

At present, the sharing of passive infrastructure including towers, power back-up and other similar infrastructure is permitted. While this has resulted in significant cost reduction for old operators, for new operators, this has resulted in faster rollout of network. However, sharing of spectrum is not permitted.

Old operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have applied to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for additional spectrum. Dual technology (GSM and CDMA) service providers such as Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications (RComm) are also seeking additional spectrum.

However, some new operators have spare spectrum in many parts of the country as they are still in the process of rolling out their networks.

Spectrum sharing in 3G services is likely to benefit all major operators. Service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone or RComm will be able to offer nationwide 3G services despite having 3G spectrum in few states.

First Published: Sep 13, 2011 20:46 IST