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Government should vacate unused spectrum: COAI


Kolkata: The Cellular Operators Association of India, a body of GSM and CDMA mobile service providers, today said that the government should take steps to vacate the unused spectrum lying with various agencies under it.

“Nearly 450 MHz of spectrum in various bands are lying with 13 government agencies like Army, Navy, Airforce, border police, state police, AIR, DD and space”, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Ranjan Mathews told reporters on the sidelines of a BCCI event here.

He said that the association was pushing the ministry and the DoT to allow use of unused spectrum for commercial use and sought a roadmap as to when it would be done.

Mathews said that the TRAI definition for broadband in the country was 512 kbps, which, compared to the international standard of two mbps, was very low.

This, he said, was due to inadequate availability of spectrum available for commercial use owing to the huge population base.

He said that in India, each telecom operator was given 12 to 15 MHz of spectrum, while internationally it was 45 to 50 MHZ.

With five million new customers being added each month, this was putting pressure on putting the networks in place, he said.

Mathews said that it was for this reason that harmonising of technology was not taking place as a result of which equipment cost for installing networks was rising for the operators.

Another challenge which the operators were facing was installation of cell towers.

He said that due to fear of electromagnetic radiation, towers were being taken out of residential premises and institutions, in addition to delays in giving approvals at local levels.

Mathews said that the local administrative levels should strictly implement the DoT guidelines in this regard.

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