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Celluar operators flays approach for additional spectrum

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 4 (UNI) The GSM cellular operator today said the recent reports in media appear to suggest that the subscriber link approach followed for allotment of additional spectrum to mobile operators is a recent innovation and not part of any defined policy.

Celllar Operators Association of India (COAI), Director General T V Ramachandran, clarified that the DoT spectrum roadmap for additional allotment of spectrum to operators based on a subscriber linked criteria was finalised by the Government way back in July 2003 after extensive consultations with and full participation of all stakeholders including the CDMA industry.

He said that in January 2003 when a Technical Committee was constituted by the then Minister for Communcation to look into the efficient use of spectrum by cellular operators and to examine their demand for allotment of additional spectrum, representatives of both the GSM as well as CDMA industry were part of the Committee.

The subscriber linked spectrum roadmap was finalized by the Committee after TEC conducted an in depth and comprehensive study for almost seven months and examined the current utilisation of bandwidth by the operators, the network design practices, the traffic handling capacity in different areas, etc.

When the Report of Committee was finalised in July 2003, it included extensive details on assumptions and calculations that resulted in the final recommendations. The final report was signed off by all the Committee members including the representative of CDMA.

Mr Ramachandran further pointed out that this approach was fully in consonance with the licenses that had been signed by the cellular operators. He quoted Clause 43.5(ii) of the UAS License which clearly stated that additional spectrum would be considered " after ensuring optimal and efficient utilisation of the already allocated spectrum taking into account all types of traffic and guidelines / criteria prescribed from time to time." It was under this clause of license that the spectrum allotment guidelines were prescribed by the Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) Wing of the Communications Ministry.

He opined that in a market where spectrum was limited, it was patently absurd to suggest that the operator with the least number of subscribers be given the same amount of spectrum as the operator with the maximum number of subscribers. The provisions of license too stipulate that no additional spectrum be given to an operator who neither requires nor justifies such additional allotments.

Mr Ramachandran apprehended that such inaccurate and baseless statements would create unnecessary confusion and controversy thus disrupting the present healthy growth of the industry which was growing at around 5 million subscribers every month.

UNI/RT MP KP1924

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