No CDMA, GSM on one licence: DoT

Department of Telecom is understood to be against allowing CDMA operators to offer GSM-based mobile services on the same licence since it will enable them to hold a large chunk of spectrum leading to market dominance.
But the department would wait for TRAI recommendations before taking any decision. Sources said that although DoT has its own view over the matter, the regulator’s view would be studied closely before making any decisions on the same.
In DoT’s view, Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) holder can offer wireless and wireline services. But on wireless, the operator has to chase only one proven technology of his choice.
Once the technology is chosen, the company has to stick to that because a particular band of spectrum has been given to it, official sources said.
The other reason, they said, is if one licencee wants to keep two technologies, it would hold a bigger chunk of spectrum which could give it market dominance and leave less spectrum for others.
UASL players like Reliance Communication who have applied for GSM spectrum could offer both GSM and CDMA services on the same licences because of technology neutrality. RCom currently offers GSM services in some circles through group firm Reliance Telecom.
Operators interpret the lack of policy clarity in the UASL norms as technology neutrality. That’s why TRAI was asked to give its recommendations on the issue, the sources said.
If DoT decides to go against CDMA operators offering GSM services under the UASL, it would be a big jolt to the Anil Ambani-promoted company, which is seeking GSM spectrum for a pan-Indian presence. Smaller players like Shyam Telecom and HFCL have also applied for GSM spectrum.