India's top mobile carriers, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have urged telecom minister Kapil Sibal to allow GSM operators to bid for unsold CDMA airwaves in the 800 MHz band.
The GSM operators want to bid for CDMA in the next auction scheduled before March 2013, The Economic Times reported, quoting executives aware of the development.
Bharti Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor, Vodafone India MD & CEO Marten Pieters and Idea Cellular MD Himanshu Kapania, in a joint communication to Sibal, have exhorted the government to free up airwaves in the 800 MHz band -- which found no takers from CDMA operators in the last auction -- and include them within the ambit of the extended 900 MHz band available to GSM operators overseas.
The three CEOs have claimed this will also augment the available spectrum pool for GSM operators by an extra 40 per cent, enhance bidder interest, boost auction prospects for the government in the next round and address broadband penetration targets in line with NTP-2012 goals.
"In absence of bidders in the last auction, we recommend all existing operators be allowed to bid for valuable 800 MHz spectrum and that the reserve price for this band be kept at a reasonable level in congruence with market realities," these CEOs said in a joint communique.