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Cellular industry awaits spectrum policy

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CIOL Bureau
New Update

Pragati Simlote

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NEW DELHI: The cellular industry is eagerly awaiting the spectrum policy, which is likely to be announced in the next 15 days.

Cellular operators are demanding early allocation of spectrum, as it is needed to expand coverage and provide more value-added services to subscribers. The Department of Telecom had set up a three-member internal committee to chart a road map for spectrum policy with inputs from stakeholders as well as TRAI.

According to industry players, to achieve the target of 250 million telecom subscribers by 2007, the cellular industry would play the lead agent. A lot of capital expenditure (capex) is needed in order to make mobile communication a way of life in India. For having a pan India reach, the cost of the services has to come down.

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Cellular Operators Association of India chairman Anil Nayar said, “The capex cost is compounded due to lack of sufficient spectrum. An increase in spectrum would lead to decrease in capex, thereby decreasing the cost of providing services.”

Hutchison Essar director Asim Ghosh also echoed same sentiments. “With India seeing a tremendous growth in telecom, it is time to look at adequate spectrum. Without adequate spectrum, telecom companies cannot deliver cost effective services. As a matter of fact, Indian telecom industry is working at one-third of the global spectrum level,” he said.

Bharti Tele-ventures joint MD Rajan Mittal opined, “Two hundred and fifty million lines in India would require investment in technology and capex. The industry needs to be profitable to go deep down and cover the masses. Spectrum, interconnect and taxation are some issues for lowering costs that need to be resolved in order for deeper penetration in India.”

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