Reliance Communications to receive start-up spectrum

New Delhi(IANS) : The Indian telecom tribunal Wednesday directed the government to issue spectrum or radio frequency to firms that had applied for it before Sep 25, including companies that have obtained dual technology license – a step that will benefit Reliance Communications.

“The TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) has today directed that the start-up spectrum will be first given to those who have applied for it before Sep 25 and also to those who have received dual technology (GSM and CDMA) licenses… of up to 6.2 MHz,” Solicitor General Goolam Vahanvati told IANS.

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This TDSAT directive to the communications and IT ministry is sure to benefit CDMA major Reliance Communications, India’s second largest mobile operator, which obtained the license to roll out mobile services under the GSM technology on Dec 6 in 14 telecom circles.

The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by the GSM lobby, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which is protesting the move to permit CDMA players to start GSM services and also the proposed subscriber-based norms for spectrum allocation.

The proposal put forward by another CDMA player, Tata Teleservices, to offer GSM services would also be considered in a favourable manner, Vahanvati said, adding the tribunal will hold the next hearing in the case Jan 9.

On the other hand, Communications and IT Minister A. Raja told reporters that there will be no auction of the second-generation spectrum due to legal constraints.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told an industry meet: “I am aware that spectrum availability can be a constraint for the growth of this sector. On the supply side, our government has taken steps for vacation of spectrum by existing users.”

The TDSAT verdict is also expected to bring cheer to firms such as Unitech, Parsvnath, DLF, HFCL and Shyam Telecom, which are eager to enter the telecommunications business.