New Delhi: State-run BSNL has got two Mhz of additional spectrum from Department of Telecom (DoT) to support its growing mobile subscriber base in the country, a move which might induce private operators to demand radio waves for their own expansion.
“We have got some amount of spectrum from DoT as per our requirement and wherever we are fulfilling the criteria,” BSNL Chairman and Manging Director A K Sinha told PTI.
However, MTNL - the other PSU - has not got any additional spectrum.
Industry sources said the spectrum given to BSNL is for trial in certain circles.
The PSU, which operates in the rest of the country minus Delhi and Mumbai, has a mobile subscriber base of 2.77 crore with a market share of 22.10% and additions of 3.26 lakh subscribers in April.
Private operators like Bharti, Hutch, Aircel are clamouring for more 2G spectrum saying they are entitled to it as their subscriber base is growing and the assignment of spectrum, which they term as “out of turn”, to BSNL will prompt them to raise the pitch of demand more loudly.
Existing GSM players have demanded that they have the first right to 2G spectrum as and when it is available.
Bharti Airtel CMD Sunil Mittal has said that existing players should be given preference in the allocation of 2G spectrum.
For GSM licensees, the subscriber link criteria is up to 15MHz spectrum and an operator in category A circle has to have 26 lakh users to avail 15Mhz of spectrum. Operators say this quantity of spectrum is below international standards.