India searching for better spectrum technology

October 21st, 2008 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 21 (IANS) Indian telecom authorities are searching for better spectrum technology as the country looks to achieve its target of having a 500-million strong mobile subscriber base by 2010.”We are targeting to have 500 million mobile subscribers by 2010. We have already achieved a subscriber base of 305 million,” Sudhir Saxena, director in the department of telecom, told IANS here.

“We have a teledensity of 30 percent now. We hope there will be a lot of mobile (telephony) revolution in the next two to three years,” he added.

Saxena, who is here for the ongoing Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (Gitex)-2008, the largest technology show in the Middle East, said India needed better spectrum technology to boost its mobile subscriber base.

“We are here in Gitex for two reasons. First, we are searching for better spectrum technology,” he said. The other reason, according to him, is that the government wants to promote India’s telecom sector to potential investors in this region.

“Back in India, we have a situation with the spectrums in the sense that some slots are vacant while others are not. We are looking for an expert who can consolidate these slots and then offer these to service providers,” Saxena explained.

He added that the government was in the process of auctioning third generation (3G) spectrum.

“We are going to announce the auction of 3G spectrum sometime around December (2008)-January (2009). Serious bidders can own these spectrums directly,” he said.

Saxena said the government was taking several measures to increase rural teledensity.

“In rural areas, teledensity is going up fast. In the next two to three years, we hope to have rural teledensity of about 25 percent,” he said.

Citing measures being taken to increase rural teledensity, Saxena said his department was providing 18,000 mobile towers with subsidies to operators who can share these towers.

“To boost rural teledensity, we are providing operators with several incentives. In terms of licence fees, operators have to pay lesser fees when they go into rural areas,” the telecom director said.

“Secondly, we are providing funding for infrastructure with the help of the USO (Universal Service Obligation).”

The USO is a fund created by the Indian government to increase rural teledensity.

The USO fund is an obligation on the part of the service providers to provide access to basic telegraph services to people in the rural and remote areas at affordable and reasonable prices.

Funds collected under USO from telecom operators are utilised for providing telephone services in rural areas, which are normally deemed unprofitable for commercial operations.

Speaking of the current global financial crisis, he said it would not affect the booming Indian telecom sector much.

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