RCom gets GSM licence despite policy hurdles

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Mumbai, Dec 7: Even as a government panel evaluates the enhanced subscriber base linked spectrum norms and the permission to allow CDMA players to enter the GSM space, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is believed to have granted a pan India GSM license to Reliance Communications (RCom).

In a communication to the stock exchanges today, RCom said that the DoT has made the necessary amendments to its Unified Access Service Licenses (UASL), enabling it to offer GSM services in addition to its existing CDMA services.

Accordingly, the company will, in due course, offer nation-wide GSM services in addition to its existing CDMA services, RCom declared in a statement.

It may be recalled that on October 19, RCom had paid the requisite license fee of Rs 16.51 billion after the DoT announced its revised spectrum allocation norms and permitted CDMA service providers to offer GSM services.

However, leading GSM players like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular have challenged the DoT policy on fresh spectrum allocation as also the move to allow use of dual technology.

RCom currently offers telecom services on the CDMA platform in all telecom circles in the country, and its 100 per cent subsidiary Reliance telecom offers GSM services in seven circles.

The company had received the Letters of Intent (LoI) for 20 circles when it had paid the license fee in October. However, on Thursday it got licences for 14 circles only as in the remaining circles, it already offers GSM services through Reliance Telecom.

RCom will now have to wait for the DoT to allot 4.4 MHz of GSM spectrum in each of the circles to launch commercial operations.

The DoT has said that RCom will be allotted spectrum only after existing licence holders such as Vodafone, Aircel and Idea, besides other existing players that have applied for a pan-India licence are granted spectrum.


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