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Rediff.com  » Business » Bharti, Vodafone, Idea move tribunal against 2G proposals

Bharti, Vodafone, Idea move tribunal against 2G proposals

May 24, 2010 17:40 IST

TelecomThree leading mobile operators have pre-empted a policy change by approaching Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal against Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations on 2G spectrum, including a one-time fee for holding radio waves beyond 6.2 Mhz.

The operators to have approached TDSAT are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.

However, one of the operators said they cannot comment on the details of the challenge as the matter is 'sub-juidice'.

The trio has been voicing their criticism of Trai's recommendations and have asked the government to dump the report, which according to them are 'retrograde' and 'absurd'.

The GSM operators are also critical of capping the spectrum at 8 MHz in all circles except Delhi and Mumbai where the limit is 10 MHz, as they think it would restrict future growth prospects.

These issues are crucial for incumbent mobile operators as paying higher fees for existing as well as future 2G spectrum will be a big financial burden for telcos, especially Bharti and Vodafone, as their profits have already come under pressure due to the intense tariff war.

Trai had also come under their (GSM operators) attack for recommending refarming of spectrum as per which players holding spectrum in the 900 MHz band would be asked to return spectrum as and when their licence comes up for renewal.

These players are also opposing vacating 900 MHz spectrum because that will mean moving from a more efficient spectrum band to a less efficient one.

If the Trai recommendations are accepted, operators like Bharti, whose licence expires in about two to three years, would have to return 2G spectrum in the 900 MHz band.

This would translate into companies incurring massive investments in shifting customers to the new frequency band and deploying networks for the new airwaves.

Shares of Bharti Airtel and Idea have dipped significantly since the Trai recommendations on May 11.

All Trai proposals are subject to DoT approval before being made into laws.

The DoT has constituted an internal committee to look into the report.

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