‘GSM Cos Trying to Stall Airwave Sale’
CDMA operators have fired a fresh salvo at their GSM rivals, accusing them of trying to stall the next 800 MHz airwaves sale, escalating a war of words between the rival technology groups just days before a new government assumes office. In a letter to telecom secretary MF Farooqui, the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (Auspi), the group representing CDMA operators like Sistema Shyam Teleservices and dual tech operators such as Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, has rubbished a recent demand of GSM operators for the auction of continuous spectrum within the 800 MHz band. According to Auspi, the Cel- lular Operators Association of India’s (COAI) view that the 800 MHz spectrum can be made contiguous in 15 circles “is clearly incorrect and misleading” and in conflict with the telecom department’s stated position that the “bulk of such airwaves is non-contiguous in most service areas”. ET has seen the letter dated May 19.
The COAI is the lobby body representing GSM operators. It has also demanded the DoT to sell 800 MHz airwaves as an extended GSM (EGSM) band and club it with 900 MHz frequencies. CDMA operators, who use 800 MHz frequencies, decried the demand to make the band EGSM and said any such move “would be a gross violation of subsisting contracts between DoT and CDMA operators”.