By Sharath Kumar on http://www.ciol.com on June 16, 2009
BANGALORE, INDIA: The GSM Association, a global trade group for mobile industry consisting of about 750 mobile operators, has welcomed the Indian Defence Ministry’s move to release 45 MHz of wireless radio spectrum. The move will serve to accelerate the development of the Indian telecom market, and speed up India’s march towards mobile broadband for all its consumers, the trade group said.
The association has been demanding that the government must allocate the 2.1 GHz spectrum to drive the deployment of mobile broadband across India. The GSMA is of the view that the planning phase for the allocation of 2.6 GHz spectrum must also start now if HSPA is to evolve for the benefit of the Indian population.
In an email reply to CIOL, the association senior director Jaikishan Rajaraman stated that it is a well-known fact that congestion on 2G networks has been the bane of Indian operators for quite some time now, especially in the urban centres.
Quoting Bharti numbers, which serves 100 million customers with 11 MHz, Rajaraman said the availability of more 2G spectrum goes a long way towards addressing that critical need.
Also, it is significant that the majority of the newly available spectrum will be for 3G, especially in the immediate term.
“This creates a lot of investor confidence that the government is serious about its promise to allocate 3G spectrum via auction this year, and that 3G services will become the centerpiece of Indian telecoms in the coming years,” he opined.
“There is much to be optimistic about, and if the newly available spectrum bands are managed carefully according to international standards, it sets in place a system of continuity which will be welcome news to the Indian operators.”
In Rajaraman’s view the phased approach is understandable given the complexities of the Indian military having to vacate a sizable chunk of spectrum. “However, we don’t believe this will slow down 3G service roll out to consumers in the short term.”
He added that this is because the simultaneous availability of 2G spectrum has allayed the concerns of operators and consumers alike that precious 3G spectrum will be used to offload congested 2G voice instead of being used for data services and mobile broadband.
As a long-term strategy, the government must keep in mind that with increased data usage and ever more subscribers using mobile broadband, there is a need to identify and set aside additional spectrum in advance for 3G services.
The GSM Association has recently demanded speeding up of the 3G auction. According to the recently published McKinsey report the delay has resulted in a $16 billion loss to the economy.
Quoting the recent McKinsey report the association has stated that once the licenses are issued and $20 billion invested over a period of five years, it can deliver $70 billion economic benefit in the same period.
See also: Indian defence loosens hold on spectrum at