Stung by criticism that some big operators were allegedly hoarding spectrum, leading telecom firm Vodafone on Monday said it was “ridiculous” to imply the incumbent players were resorting to such a measure.

Contending that no rules were violated in granting additional airwaves, Vodafone in a statement said no spectrum in excess of what was permissible has been granted to any mobile operator.

“There have been some reports in the media quoting certain operators on spectrum hoarding and it is ridiculous to imply that the incumbent GSM players are hoarding spectrum”, the Vodafone statement said.

Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata had recently raised a debate alleging that “hoarding of spectrum by important players” for free is a real scam. However, Tata did not name any company.

As per available data, GSM majors like Bharti, Vodafone, Idea and state-owned BSNL, MTNL have spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz (the benchmark level) across many circles.

“There has been no violation of license condition in the allotment of additional spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz and no spectrum in excess of what was permissible has been granted to any mobile operator,” Vodafone added.

Over the last decade, spectrum has been allocated by the government to mobile operators based on a subscriber linked criteria which has been the official established policy of the Government since 2002, it said.

Beyond the first chunk of 4.4 MHz, spectrum is allocated based on the number of subscribers that the operator has, the statement said.

Vodafone also hit out at Tata, which offers mobile telephony services using both GSM and CDMA technology.

“The CDMA spectrum has the capacity to serve at least four to five times more subscribers than GSM.

It is the CDMA operators who are under-utilising spectrum as they are using it at levels far below the efficiency of the GSM players,” Vodafone said.

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