Bharti Airtel challenges spectrum allocation norms

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New Delhi, Nov 26 (UNI) Barely 24 hours after Anil Ambani shot a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attacking GSM players, Airtel's Sunil Bharti Mittal today challenged the spectrum allocation norms by the government for being unviable.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, RCom Chief Mr Ambani stated that the top three GSM players including Bharti, Vodafone-Essar and Idea acquired an additional 52 million subscribers recently without any additional spectrum.

Mr Ambani asked if there was no spectrum, how did they add 25 per cent to the current subscriber base.

Coming out after the meeting with the telecom panel headed by DoT Additional Secretary R Bandhopadhyay and comprising representatives from GSM and CDMA operators, Mr Mittal said, ''Ignorance cannot be used as an excuse to change norms and we have challenged spectrum allocation norms recommended by the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) with proper evidence and data''.

''We can't be questioned on the adoption of modern technology,'' Mr Mittal added.

The panel is meeting for the second time today and will again meet on November 30. However, state-owned telcos BSNL and MTNL are not participating in the meeting.

TEC had given its report on spectrum allocation norms earlier this month, suggesting manifold increase in subscribers for allocation of additional radio waves.

Communication Minister A Raja had accepted the report in-principle, but in view of strong protests from GSM operators -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular -- the government constituted a panel to revisit the norms.

The committee has to give a report by the end of this month.


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