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Rediff.com  » Business » Private ops cry foul over BSNL WiMax services

Private ops cry foul over BSNL WiMax services

December 23, 2008 12:08 IST

WiMax operators in India have cried foul over the allotment of broadband wireless access spectrum to state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

WiMax Forum, the representative body of WiMax operators, alleged that BSNL had deployed its WiMax services on the frequency division duplex-based spectrum band, which does not conform to international standards for WiMax technology.

This renders it obsolete and prevents other operators from deploying superior technologies like time division duplex on the same band, it has said.

"Both technologies cannot co-exist, therefore if BSNL deploys its services in the FDD mode, it will not be possible for other operators to operate on superior technology," said CS Rao, chairman, WiMax Forum.

He added that this might prove detrimental to the business interests of BSNL as well since its network would not be able to co-exist with that of other operators.

"The interesting point is that the vendor (US-based Soma Networks) which is providing equipment to BSNL for its WiMax network in the three states has registration for TDD as well.

"Therefore, it can be upgraded," he added.

The forum has asked the government to look into the issue to prevent any monopoly and 'ensure a level-playing field'.

BSNL officials declined to comment on the issue.

The forum also asked the department of telecommunications to treat BWA services on a par with 3G. The industry body urged the government to increase the validity of the BWA licence for 20 years, the same as in the case of 3G, instead of 15 years.

The forum also sought easier rollout obligations for the successful bidders of BWA spectrum.

While the licensee to whom 3G spectrum is allocated has to cover at least 50 per cent of the district headquarters within five years of the effective date -- of which at least 15 per cent should be rural short distance charging areas -- BWA operators have to cover at least 50 per cent of the rural SDCAs within five years of the effective date.

Interestingly, telecom operators had raised the issue of a level playing field with the DoT opposing the difference in the reserve price for BWA against 3G spectrum.

The reserve price of BWA spectrum stands at Rs 1,010 crore (Rs 10.1 billion), which is half that of 3G spectrum.

BS Reporter in New Delhi
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