Enough spectrum available: DoT

‘More operators will lead to better services’

NEW DELHI: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Monday said that nearly 65 Mhz of frequency would be available for allotment to new and existing players.

The DoT has earmarked 100 MHz for existing 2G mobile services. Out of this, so far a maximum of about 35 to 40 MHz per circle has been allotted to different operators and it is being used by them to provide services to about 250 million subscribers, a departmental note said.

“The remaining 60 to 65 MHz, including spectrum likely to be vacated by Defence Services, is still available for 2G services,” the DoT said in the paper.

Real competition

Therefore, there is enough scope for allotment of spectrum to few new operators even after meeting the requirements of the existing operators and licensees.

An increase in the number of operators would certainly bring real competition which would lead to better services and lower tariffs, the DoT said, adding that “with four more new players coming in... the mobile tariffs may fall by over 50 per cent from the current level.”

Assuming the existing efficiency level of spectrum, the DoT is of the view that operators can easily provide services to about 750 million subscribers with 100 MHz earmarked for 2G services.

“This number (750 million) can be substantially increased with more efficient use of spectrum through increased and real competition,” DoT said.

The Department said that with the present pace of seven million mobile user additions per month and spectrum efficiency, it would take about six years for saturation of 2G spectrum.

Apart from this, a large number of subscribers would be added with the launch of 3G services in 2008, it said.

“There will be no shortage of 2G spectrum in the coming years even with the induction of few new operators... apprehension of existing operators of shortage of spectrum for future growth is not correct,” the DoT said.

On the issue of auction of 2G spectrum, the Department said it was considered by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the Telecom Commission, but was not recommended as the existing licence holders, who already have 10MHz of spectrum per circle, have got it for free.

The DoT is of the view that auction will not be sustainable as operators in the past have got spectrum virtually free of cost and if auction is held, it may favour a few existing players. — PTI

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