The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Spectrum loose ends to be tied up

New Delhi, Dec. 4: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will soon initiate a process to help the government and operators overcome the problem of spectrum allocation and pricing.

The cellular mobile operators using the global system for mobile (GSM) communications today demanded that the regulator must ensure that there is enough spectrum for sustained and viable competition in the telecom sector. The GSM operators have also demanded that they should be given a platform to leap-frog from the existing EDGE technology to 4G.

Enhanced Data Rate for Global Evolution or EDGE is in the trial stage but has the potential to offer users higher data rates required to deliver the full potential of mobile internet services.

With EDGE, customers will not only be ‘always connected’ to the internet, but will also benefit from a potential three-fold increase in the data rate over current GPRS networks. The cellular operators also asked for fair terms in the allocation of spectrum to the operators using GSM and CDMA technologies.

T. V. Ramachandran, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), today pointed out the need for the allocation of a minimum of 17.5 Mhz spectrum for cellular operators at least in ‘hotspots’.

“If both CDMA and GSM operators are offered 5 Mhz, there will certainly be an advantage to CDMA operators since it has a better spectrum utilisation. But if both are offered 15 Mhz, the competition will be fair,” he said.

He also said that a spectrum allocation of 17.5 Mhz per operator is feasible, assuming that consolidation in the sector is inevitable and that there will not be more than six to seven mobile service providers over a period of time.

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