Bharti, Hutch get maximum GSM spectrum

Bharti Airtel, Hutchison Essar and BPL Mobile have been allotted maximum spectrum of 10 Mhz in Delhi and Mumbai respectively in the latest round of allocation of radio waves by the Government.

The latest figures of the Department of Telecom shows as on March 31, 2007, MTNL and Idea Cellular in Delhi have been given 8 Mhz of spectrum. DoT follows subscriber based spectrum allocation procedure.

In Mumbai, BPL Mobile Communications and Hutch Essar have got 10 Mhz of spectrum while MTNL has been given 8 Mhz and Bharti Airtel has 9.2 Mhz.

In Delhi, during the same period CDMA operators Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices have been given 5 Mhz of spectrum each while MTNL has been given 3.75 Mhz of spectrum for its services. In Mumbai, the three operators have been allotted 5 Mhz of spectrum each.

In case of GSM players in Kolkata, while Hutchison Essar has got the maximum radio waves of 9.8 Mhz, it is followed by Bharti Airtel has 8 Mhz. BSNL and Reliance have each got 6.2 Mhz of spectrum. In Chennai, Bharti Airtel and Aircel have got 8.6 Mhz and BSNL and Hutch Essar have been allotted 8 Mhz of spectrum each.

For their CDMA services, BSNL got 2.5 Mhz in Kolkata, Reliance has 5 Mhz and Tata Teleservices has 3.75 Mhz of spectrum. In Chennai, BSNL has been given 2.5 Mhz and Reliance has 5 Mhz and Tata Teleservices has 3.75 Mhz.

The allocation of spectrum like the availability has been much fought for by the GSM and CDMA operators. While Cellular Operators Association maintains that CDMA operators are getting additional spectrum for free, GSM operators when move from 4.4 MHz (initial allotment) to 6.2 MHz and then on to 8 MHz, their spectrum usage charges go up from 2 to 3 and then 4 per cent of total revenues.

However, when CDMA operators move from 2.5 MHz (their initial allotment) to 3.75 MHz and then to 5 MHz; their spectrum usage charges remain unchanged at 2 per cent of total revenues, says the GSM lobby. On their part, the CDMA players say GSM operators be made to pay for additional spectrum allocated to them beyond the 6.25 MHz prescribed in their licences.

Under the unified access service licence (UASL), every GSM operator is entitled to only 6.25 MHz of 2G spectrum and each CDMA operator up to 5 MHz free of cost. Any allocation over and above this, should be priced, they say. In rest of the country also operators have been given adequate amount of spectrum depending on their subscriber base.