COAI moves TDSAT against new telecom policy

COAI moves TDSAT against new telecom policy


New Delhi: Cellular Operators Association of India, the association of GSM mobile operators, today moved telecom tribunal TDSAT challenging the government’s new telecom policy that allows CDMA service providers to enter the GSM segment.

The petition filed by a host of GSM operators along with COAI also sought quashing of Department of Telecom’s (DoT) decision, dated 19 October 2007, to allow enhanced subscriber-linked criterion for spectrum allocation.

They also sought non-implementation of these decisions, terming them unfair, unjust, illegal, arbitrary and violative of level-playing field and principles of natural justice.

GSM cellular operators said the new telecom guidelines, favouring only CDMA service providers, were framed in a “completely non-transparent manner" and adversely affects existing GSM players.

The COAI demanded that “all files of Telecom Commission relating to revised guidelines be placed before the tribunal".

COAI said DoT called for a meeting of Telecom Commission, headed by telecom secretary, on 18 October. The meeting ended at about 6 pm and the in-principle approval was issued to CDMA operators within half an hour, COAI said in its petition.

By the next morning, one large CDMA operator submitted the necessary fee as also a detailed application for assignment of frequency and other parameters in duly completed formats, it added.

Although COAI did not name the CDMA operator, only Reliance Communications has so far submitted the fee.

It was only after all the activities were concluded, the DoT decided to inform the world and that too, only through a press release on its website, it said.

“It may also be noted that no detailed guidelines have yet been issued by DoT on the subject matter except the said press release. The above actions of DoT clearly smack of legal malafide," the petition said.

The other two CDMA operators to have received the approval along with Reliance Communications are Mahendra Nahata-promoted HFCL and Shyam Telecom.

Tata Teleservices, another CDMA player, has also approached DoT seeking permission to start GSM services across the country.