Raja briefs PM on telecom developments

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) Telecom Minister A Raja today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and apprised him of the ongoing tussle for spectrum among telecom operators and the introduction of number portability.

The meeting which lasted for about 25 minutes came amidst the controversies flocking between the GSM and the CDMA operators, where GSM lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has alleged that the decision regarding use of dual technology has been taken in a completely non-transparent manner and reflects government's favourtism towards a single player.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had clarified before the telecom tribunal TDSAT last evening that the decision to allow dual technology is a matter of policy and GSM operators have no right to challenge it.

Recently, telecom operators have been at loggerheads over various recommendations by Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), the technical wing of DoT, which favoured use of dual technology by a single operator and enhanced subscriber base for getting spectrum.

Both the issues have been challenged by COAI in telecom tribunal TDSAT.

Reliance Communications Chairman Anil Ambani recently wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and said that the policy making process adopted by the DoT was completely transparent and the GSM operators are adopting an anti-consumer and anti-competitive stance in spreading false and misleading propaganda against the policy makers.

Earlier, existing GSM operators, including Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal, Idea Cellular Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vodafone Chief Executive Officer Arun Sarin, had shot off letters to the Prime Minister criticising the Communications Ministry's spectrum allocation policy that allegedly favoured a few companies including Reliance Communication.

Mr Raja on Monday announced an immediate release of spectrum to offer 3G mobile services and introduced number portability for mobile users.

''The 3G licences will be granted through a controlled, simultaneous ascending e-auction, by a specialised agency to ensure transparency in selection process,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the GSM operators have opposed the decision to introduce number portability, and accused the government of favouring a particular operator wanting to enter their turf.

''Mobile number portability was being introduced to benefit a select operator desirous of entering the GSM segment and thereafter poaching on the subscribers of existing GSM players,'' COAI Director General TV Ramachandran said.


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