Saturday, August 16, 2008

India - 3G spectrum dispute

TRAI picks holes in DoT's 3G policy

Telecom regulator TRAI on Wednesday said the government criteria of subscriber base for allotment of 3G spectrum to CDMA operators like RCOM and Tatas is against the principle of equity.

"As various service providers have been given licences in different areas at different periods of time, the Authority feels that keeping the subscriber base as the criteria for deciding the priority of allotment shall be against the level playing field and the principle of equity," TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra said in a letter to Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura.

DoT's decision was also opposed by the GSM operators saying the move would give undue advantage to CDMA operators.

He said that Department of Telecom (DoT) may consider the auction route for allotment of spectrum in the 800 MHz band (spectrum for CDMA players) with the highest bid received from GSM operators as the reserve price.

This would ensure equity, level playing field and optimal pricing in allotment of CDMA spectrum for 3G services, he added.

The subscriber base of CDMA network of the service provider in any service area is a result of different environment and cannot muster the "test of fairness if it was to become the basis of priority", TRAI said.

The government has allowed allotment of 1.25 MHz each to CDMA players based on subscriber base of respective players.

Besides, TRAI has also asked DoT to relook into various other issues relating to 3G policy.

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