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CDMA development grp comments on Spectrum issue

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 9: In the wake of the on-going conflict between CDMA and GSM service providers for equal allotment of Spectrum, the CDMA Development Group (CDG) today expressed serious reservations about the recent Department of Telecommunications (Dot) order of March 29, 2006.

The order maintains the current subscriber-based approach of assigning spectrum to CDMA and GSM service providers.

CDG also notes that the approach of assigning unequal spectrum to CDMA and GSM service providers, in the proportion of 1:2, is unique to India, in contradiction to the guidance of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and also not aligned with International best practice.

After a detailed deliberation among all stakeholders, TRAI in its spectrum recommendation on 13th May 2005, had advocated that all additional spectrum assignments to CDMA and GSM service providers must be equal.

CDG also notes that the basis for this assignment criteria shall become null and void, as soon as the GSM operators migrate to WCDMA for enabling enhanced services.

According to the CDG, as per the DoT's current order, the service providers will not have enough capacity and are thus precluded from deploying data and broadband services in the future, even though the provision of such services is allowed under the current license (UASL).

The DoT order will not only deprive Indian consumers' access to Internet and value-added services, but it also goes against the overall best economic interest of the country.

CDG notes that every 1 per cent increase in internet penetration has a positive impact on GDP and this impact is two times greater than a 1 per cent increase in voice only services (derived from the International Telecommunications Union telecommunications indicator database).

CDG, has in the past, commended other Government policies, such as the UASL initiative, which has played an important role in increasing voice teledensity.

Similar forward-looking policies are needed to significantly grow information (Internet) teledensity, which has not occurred due to the current spectrum assignment process.

The current process for assigning the radio spectrum for mobile services in India severely underutilises the capabilities of the existing equipment installed. This equipment has the potential of offering advanced data services along with voice. Hence, the current approach will discourage operators from offering differentiated services.

CDG has therefore urged the government of India to de-link subscriber numbers as a criterion for releasing spectrum, and provide spectrum to both CDMA and GSM service providers based on equal criteria, to enable them to deploy both voice and data services simultaneously in line with international best practice.

The CDG is an international trade association formed to foster worldwide development, implementation and use of CDMA technologies.

Primary activities of the CDG include development of CDMA features and services, public relations, education and seminars, regulatory affairs and international support.


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