labels: telecom, mtnl, bharat sanchar nigam ltd
BSNL, MTNL get free spectrum as government bases allocation on new subscribers news
19 October 2007
Mumbai: State-run telecom companies Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) will both get precious spectrum almost free of coast if they adopt both GSM and CDMA technologies.

The government also approved the increase in subscriber base, recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), as the basis for further allocation of spectrum.

While private players will have to pay Rs1,660 crore to offer mobile services on dual technologies like GSM and CDMA, the decision would also hit the existing GSM players like Bharti, Vodafone Essar and Idea badly.

However, the government would consider stream-wise revenue of different technologies for revenue share calculation. The state-run operators would have to pay revenue shares depending on the alternate technology format - GSM or CDMA - they use.

The department of telecom (DoT), meanwhile, has set up a committee in the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) to "further" study and submit a report.

According to DoT, there would also be no cap on the number of players in each circle. This, it said, would ensure rapid expansion of telecom services both in urban and rural areas while providing equal opportunities and level-playing field to all players.

This would make it difficult for existing GSM players to get additional spectrum for further expansion as the DoT has raised the subscriber base nearly five times.

While a CDMA player will have to pay about Rs1,660 crore for offering GSM services throughout the country to get 4.4 MHz of spectrum, sources pointed out.

Both the PSUs were recently allocated additional spectrum - BSNL about 10 MHz in 16 circles and MTNL 8 MHz in its Mumbai, Delhi circles - after DoT decided to convert the trial spectrum allocated to them for commercial use.

The Cellular Operators Association Of India (COAI) had, meanwhile, served a legal notice on DoT for delay in allocating additional spectrum and had opposed the TRAI criteria for additional spectrum allocation.

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BSNL, MTNL get free spectrum as government bases allocation on new subscribers