COAI takes on Telecom Minister over Spectrum
The Dollar Business Bureau Close to the Make in India Telecom Conclave where all the stakeholders and the Government of India have been talking about taking Indian Telecom sector to the next level by manufacturing telecom equipment indigenously and exporting it to Africa and Middle-East nations, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has expressed its displeasure over a statement made by the Union Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Speaking at a telecom event on Saturday, Prasad pulled-up private telecom operators not providing adequate service to the customers citing ‘Spectrum’ as the reason and that there needs to be a better monitoring of the existing by the operators to assist customers. The operators also cited difficulty in installation of mobile towers as reason for not being able to provide adequate service like avoiding ‘call drop.’ Reacting to the Minister’s comments, COAI said that unlike in other countries, telecom networks are very loaded in India and the Minister can do a check on the existing resources and enlighten himself. Rajan S Mathews, COAI Director General said that hurdles posed by local government bodies in installing mobile towers and fear of radiation are the main issues to be resolved for operators to provide adequate and appropriate service. In a bid to resolve the ‘spectrum’ issue, the government is likely to conduct spectrum auction sometime early next month which will be one of the biggest spectrum auctions as a result of which more airwaves will be added for the benefit of the operators. The Cabinet approved reserve price for auction of 2G spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 Mhz and 1800 MHz bands that at the minimum rate set would get the government Rs 64,840 crore. Of these, the government will get Rs 16,000 crore from 2G spectrum sale and Rs 5,793 crore on 3G airwaves this fiscal and the remainder will flow in later.
This article was published on February 14, 2015.