BSNL defends allegation of being inefficient

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New Delhi, Nov 2 (UNI) Defending allegations of being inefficient in its operations, state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nagam Ltd today said it has captured top slot in GSM services within six months of its launch.

''About the inefficient operations of BSNL, we would like to inform that the company captured number one position in GSM market within six months of launch of its GSM services in its area of operation,'' company's Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal told reporters here.

The company is able to cover maximum rural areas where other private telecom operators find it commercially unviable to serve, he added.

The government yesterday accepted the report by Department of Telecom's (DoT) technical wing, a move that would make it difficult for players like Airtel and Vodafone to get additional spectrum and which has upset the GSM industry in the country.

The TEC recommended more than eight times increase in subscriber base for GSM operators to become eligible for additional spectrum and has lowered the subscriber base in certain areas.

Reacting to the news Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal shot off a letter to the Department of Telecom (DoT), calling the new criteria 'absurd' and state-run telcos BSNL and MTNL 'most inefficient' and has asked the DoT to withdraw a large part of spectrum from MTNL to guide the industry in efficient spectrum use.

''While I have no difficulty in accepting the fact that operators need to be spectrum efficient, but I cannot see the logic why BSNL and MTNL, which have significantly lower customers than Airtel, have been doled out, at least from the Department's point of view, generous spectrum even when they have not fulfilled the subscriber base criteria as prescribed in the current policy,'' Mr Mittal has said in the communication to DoT.

UNI

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