New Delhi: Telecom regulator TRAI on 13 August said the government criteria of subscriber base for allotment of 3G spectrum to CDMA operators like RCOM and Tatas is against the principle of equity.
“As various service providers have been given licences in different areas at different periods of time, the authority feels that keeping the subscriber base as the criteria for deciding the priority of allotment shall be against the level playing field and the principle of equity,” TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra said in a letter to Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura.
The decision of Department of Telecom (DoT) was also opposed by the GSM operators saying the move would give undue advantage to CDMA operators.
He said that DoT may consider the auction route for allotment of spectrum in the 800 MHz band (spectrum for CDMA players) with the highest bid received from GSM operators as the reserve price.
This would ensure equity, level playing field and optimal pricing in allotment of CDMA spectrum for 3G services, he added.
The subscriber base of CDMA network of the service provider in any service area is a result of different environment and cannot muster the “test of fairness if it was to become the basis of priority”, TRAI said.
The government has allowed allotment of 1.25 MHz each to CDMA players based on subscriber base of respective players.
Besides, TRAI has also asked DoT to relook into various other issues relating to 3G policy.
TRAI Chairman Misra also said that DoT’s proposal to issue licences to successful bidders in 3G spectrum auction would require regulator’s recommendation.
Sources in the industry said that TRAI’s proposal may derail the whole process especially at a time when the players are preparing to offer next generation mobile services and the government is planning to appoint an agency to overlook the auctioning of spectrum.
DoT has already issued an expression of interest to appoint the agency.
No official comment could be ascertained on TRAI’s letter to DoT secretary that whether DoT would re-look into the 3G policy announced on August 1.