COAI thumps DoT again on frequency allocation issue

February 25th, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Even as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is gearing itself to issue telecom licenses and radio frequencies or spectrum to nine operators, the GSM cellular forum has shot a strongly worded letter expressing its discontent. According to industry sources, Communications and IT Minister A. Raja is all set to sign license agreements with the nine telecom operators - Unitech, Datacom, Tatas, Idea Cellular, Spice Telecom, S Tel and Shyam Telelink - which had received the letter of intent (LoI) last month.

Expressing serious “concern” over the DoT’s decision, a “perturbed” Cellular Association of India (COAI) said it was upset that “the DoT is planning to go ahead and sign license agreements/amendments and finalise the allocation of start-up GSM spectrum to LOI/in-principle approval holders in utter disregard of the pending adjudications in TDSAT/Delhi High Court”. The COAI expressed its ire in its letter to DoT Secretary Siddhartha Behura.

“DoT is on the verge of signing license agreements /amendments and finalising the allocation of start up GSM spectrum based on a faulty implementation of the first come first serve policy,” it said.

On the seniority issue over the granting of spectrum, the COAI cited the latest verdict of the Delhi High Court that seniority would be determined as per the date of the submission of the application.

“It is submitted that by disregarding the date of application and issuing LOIs simultaneously, the DoT has irreversibly and gravely impacted the seniority and priority rights of our member operators who were first in line to receive UAS licenses /start up GSM spectrum,” the COAI added.

Idea Cellular and Spice Communications have warned the government that they should be considered ahead of others as their applications have been pending since December 2006.

On the other hand, the Wireless Planning Commission (WPC) of the DoT, in an internal note on the DoT’s question on spectrum availability, said: “The current availability of GSM 1800 MHz spectrum in different service areas has been assessed taking into account other existing usages (including those of security agencies) as well as the spectrum allotted to GSM based service providers.”

“It may be added that there is no spectrum available for allotment in GSM 900 MHz band,” WPC said.

It has also alerted the DoT that if the spectrum is allotted to the new licenses, it can be given only in four service areas of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

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