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New Delhi, July 15: AirTel, Bharti group’s cellular mobile service, is all set to get an additional 2 megahertz of spectrum that it can use to either add new subscribers or improve the quality of calls of existing subscribers.
Spectrum is a range of wave lengths applied to gauge radio frequencies. This is an important aspect of a mobile service as it takes the calls made from a mobile phone through the frequencies allocated to operators and land them at the destinations called.
The AirTel network has become congested in Delhi due to the surge in the number of subscribers. It plans to use this additional spectrum in Delhi where it has the highest number of subscribers.
Sources in the Wireless Planning Commission (WPC), which deals with spectrum allocation, said the operator would be allocated in the 1800 megahertz spectrum. Since AirTel operates in 900 megahertz spectrum in Delhi, the use of the additional spectrum could result in more investments.
The company executives did not wish to comment on the allocation or the scale of new investments. However, the company spokesperson said, “We have applied for additional spectrum of 4 megahertz, but we are yet to get any response from the concerned authorities. It is difficult to comment on the additional investment since we are not aware about the allocation.”
AirTel, Hutch and other private mobile operators have been demanding additional spectrum to provide cellular mobile services to more subscribers and also to improve the quality of service to the existing subscribers.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had rejected the demand for the allocation of additional spectrum to cellular mobile service providers unless they had a subscriber base of over 9 lakh in one circle. An internal committee of DoT, which oversees allotment of additional frequency to cellular operators using global system for mobile (GSM) communications, has in its report rejected the demand for more spectrum.
The report has advised the cellular operators to use the available frequency optimally.
“The current allotment of frequency spectrum is insufficient as there are certain congested places in the service areas where the subscriber base is very heavy. The problem is further compounded because of infrastructure constraints like security, space and power for the installation of additional base stations in the congested areas,” said a senior executive of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).