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

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.