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No spectrum for 3G CDMA operations in some circles

Rajesh S Kurup  |  Mumbai 

There is no 3G spectrum available in certain circles for allocation to CDMA players, according to an internal Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) study "" a move that is bound to affect the plans of existing and new operators.

The Trai chairman is understood to have written a letter to the Department of Telecommunications' (DoT) secretary, citing concerns on the non-availability of CDMA spectrum in certain circles. The DoT has approved starting 3G services under the 800 Mhz spectrum.

A source said the dearth of spectrum in the 800 Mhz band, according to the internal Trai study "" in circles such as Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Orissa "" is likely to affect the expansion plans of existing CDMA operators like Reliance Communications (RCom), Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL), which had sought CDMA spectrum for expansion.

Moreover, it will also delay the 3G policy and rollout plans, that too at a time when global majors like Vodafone are expected to enter the fray. The 3G spectrum shortage is also likely to impact the high-speed wireless broadband rollout plans of CDMA players, with operators planning a nationwide rollout of Evolution Value Data Optimised (EVDO), which is a high-speed standard for wireless broadband, primarily supported by the 800 mhz band.

CDMA players were expecting to get spectrum under the extended GSM (e-GSM) band "" 880-890 Mhz band paired with 925-935 Mhz "" but this seems unlikely as the GSM operators' body, the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI), has laid its claim to it.

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First Published: Sun, June 22 2008. 00:00 IST