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CDMA players slam Trai ruling

Joji Thomas Philip  |  New Delhi 

CDMA-based cellular operators have called the Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations on extra spectrum as discriminatory and non-transparent. They also alleged that the recommendations were against the established policy of spectrum allocation.
Replying to a department of telecommunications note, the Association Of Unified Service Providers of India, the body representing CDMA operators, today said the regulator's recommendations had violated the Trai Act.
The Act requires Trai to ensure transparency while exercising its powers. "In the absence of non-disclosure of information to the appellant, principles of natural justice have been violated," CDMA operators said.
According to them, the regulator had allocated bands for CDMA operators where "admittedly the handsets and equipment were not available, but with the hope that future vendors may come and develop systems, within six months".
Operators have also told the government that the regulator's reference to both Japan and China, with regard to the availability of such handsets, was "inappropriate".
In the case of Japan, the expressions used are "also expected" and "Japan may start offering".
Besides, in Japan, the 800 MHz band does not follow the usual uplink and downlink system, and is therefore not applicable to India, CDMA operators said.
In the case of China, there is no conclusive information, and the regulator should have checked before making such observations.
China's home grown system for 3G called TD-SCDMA was not applicable to India, operators added.
The CDMA association said the regulator's recommendations were in favour of GSM and against its interests.
Additional spectrum allocation for GSM are in bands in which handsets and equipment are available. Trai, in its recommendations, inappropriately equated WCDMA with EVDO but, as per ITU, EDGE was 3G technology, and no GSM operator had taken permission for launching it, they said.
"Trai admits that in 1900 MHz PCS band, equipment and handsets are available both for GSM and CDMA, but in 2GHz band, the availability is only for GSM, but still this band is recommended for both."
Another observation made by the CDMA lobby is that the recommendations did not take into account India's commitments to the WTO to follow a transparent process.
The WPC had sought the views of all players before approving the spectrum policy.

First Published: Thu, June 16 2005. 00:00 IST