India Intelligence Report
 
Govt to Release Spectrums, Boost Telecom
 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that his Government would release a part of the spectrum that it owns. He said, “We are working steadily towards addressing the issue of releasing additional spectrum from government use for the use of commercial telecom operations so that growth of this dynamic sector is not constrained by the shortage of this vital resource.”  

India is currently the fastest growing cell phone market in the world overtaking even the more robust China. Indian cell phone market is also expected to overtake China is total cell phones being used by the population.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that it has recommended a drastic decrease for unified licensing fees from USD 25 million to USD 1 million and further reducing it to less than USD 100,000 in 5 years. It further called for a single regulator that will allow the oversight into increasingly converging market. Telecom vendors, cable operators, and wireless service providers are planning voice, video, and data over their networks and currently each mode of delivery is regulated separately.

 

The need for a common regulator is even more accentuated in the wireless space where CDMA-based fixed wireless operators are at odds with GSM-based operators. GSM operators paid a larger fee with rights for roaming, long distance calling, and supplementary services, while CDMA operators were given rights to only local operation as the wireless local loop (WLL) rights. However, subscribers have demanded equitable services forcing WLL to approach the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal to force TRAI to allow them to offer these services.  In the end, TRAI had to allow open competition for all operators and the essential gainers were subscribers, which resulted in this telecom boom.