Resolve spectrum row, says MoF

New Delhi, Nov 14 | Updated: Nov 15 2005, 07:58am hrs
Recognising spectrum as crucial for the growth of the telecom sector, the finance ministry has suggested that the raging controversy between GSM and CDMA based operators over spectrum allocation policy needs to be resolved urgently.

The GSM vs CDMA controversy needs to be resolved urgently. While technology neutral judicious allocation of spectrum to all service providers in a non-discriminatory manner is needed, spectrum allocation policy should also be based on the greater benefit for the country and optimal use of available resources, the ministry said in a paper.

The ministry, however, has proposed to come heavily on inefficient usage of spectrum suggesting that the wireless planning wing of the department of telecom (DOT) and other appropriate agencies should carry out an annual review of spectrum utilisation by all players.

The two lobbies GSM players like Bharti, Hutch and Idea and CDMA players like Reliance and Tatas have been fighting over the quantum and methods for allocation of spectrum to respective players and have been demanding technology neutral approach for the purpose.

Inefficiencies should be identified and communicated to the players. The reviewing body should have the authority to withdraw parts of the spectrum allocated to the players in case of wasteful or non-utilisation of the spectrum, the finance ministry said in a strategy paper.

According to the ministry, the national frequency allocation plan should be reviewed at frequent intervals, but no later than every two years to incorporate latest developments in the areas of radio/wireless technologies.

The sooner this controversy is resolved, the better it is for Indian telecom industry, where the cake is big enough for all players, the ministry said.