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COAI raps CDMA players

Amid a fierce battle for spectrum, GSM-based Cellular Operators Association of India today slammed CDMA operators for spreading misinformation about the spectrum policy of the government.

“We strongly deplore the misinformation being spread by CDMA operators as regards a pro-GSM bias in the spectrum policy. The truth is, in fact, the exact opposite,” COAI Director-General T V Ramachandran said.

Tata and Reliance are the two major CDMA operators in the country besides a few small regional players like Shyam Telecom. COAI’s allegations assume significance in view of the US-based Qualcom chief Paul Jacob’s visit here.

Jacob has met the operators as well as Communication and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran and is understood to have discussed the future of CDMA technology in the country.

Ramachandran said not only the CDMA operators managed to get a huge initial advantage by paying a very low entry fee but also continue to enjoy an enormous ongoing advantage in terms of lower annual spectrum usage charges.

“CDMA operators who entered mobile services through the backdoor paid the value of the 4th GSM licence/spectrum under the compromise solution worked out under Unified Access Service License (UASL), Ramachandran said, adding, “In the process they got access to a mobility spectrum that has admittedly, a five times higher capacity than GSM. This means that CDMA operators actually paid only around one-fifth the price that the spectrum/license would have attracted, if the same had been acquired in the open market.”

According to Ramachandran, CDMA operators should actually have been entitled to only one-fifth the spectrum of GSM. However, the licence gave them a beneficial linkage of 1:2.

He said CDMA operators’ demand for equal MHz spectrum was “ompletely untenable”.



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