ADAG attacks GSM operators, seeks PM's intervention

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New Delhi, Nov 11 (UNI) Intensifying the ongoing telecom tangle, Reliance ADA Group Chairman Anil Ambani has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to ensure that service providers surrender excess spectrum.

Launching a frontal attack on GSM players, Mr Ambani has held GSM operators responsible for hoarding surplus spectrum and asked for a ''a transparent framework for surrender of spectrum in a time-bound manner, wherever not utilised, as per guidelines''.

He also pointed out that telecom tribunal TDSAT, TRAI and fair trade practices watchdog MRTPS too have issued notices to Bharti and Vodafone for ''anti-consumer practices like cartelisation and price-fixation.'' In a letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr Ambani has opposed the auction route to allocate spectrum as it would benefit a only few of the existing large GSM players.

''Government has to see through the motivated agenda of a few of the existing GSM operators and not succumb to their pressure tactics,'' he pointed out.

Anil Ambani, whose group firm Reliance Communications is a key CDMA mobile player, had said rival GSM players' lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) does not represent the telecom industry and their propaganda on spectrum allocation was misleading.

''Initially five companies out of nine took the matter to the apex tribunal TDSAT. I believe two of them have already dissociated from the case and only three are left in this matter,'' Mr Ambani said.

The letter comes after COAI challenged the new policy of allowing dual technology for mobile telephony and new spectrum allocation norms as recommended by Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC). ADAG firm Reliance Communications is a key CDMA player and was the first one to apply for GSM spectrum under the new norms.

Aircel, Spice Telecom, Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Essar had moved the TDSAT under the banner of COAI, challenging the Centre's new norms on spectrum allocation and allowing usage of dual technology.

Aircel and Spice Telecom have since then withdrawn cases against the Department of Telecom (DoT).

Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) will tomorrow start hearing on the petition filed by GSM lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) against the government's decision to allow usage of ''dual spectrum'' to telecom firms within the same licence.


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