India’s Department of Telecoms is allegedly embroiled in another controversy about phone spectrum – with accusations that it is sitting on loads of unused 2G spectrum.
Despite numerous assertions that it has allotted all of the available spectrum, a staffer let slip on its website that there is 211 MHz of 2G spectrum for GSM operators left, and 75 units for CDMA, according to the Economic Times.
Operators are desperately appealing for the Department to release the spectrum. It will provide needed relief to providers, as long as it is not monopolised as it was alleged in a spectrum scandal last year.
It’ll be a sensitive topic to approach, considering the arrest of the last telecoms minister, A Raja, who was accused of favouring certain companies and selling spectrum for peanuts. There were allegations at the time that the reportedly under-the-table deals could have cost the country up to $39 billion.
Meanwhile, flogging the remaining spectrum will give India a much needed boost to pay as economic growth is beginning to stagnate.
CDMA and 2G remains incredibly important for India’s ecosystem.
Controlling spectrum is vitally important for operators and network carriers. Potential for a new auction process will, no doubt, have some execs rubbing their palms together and salivating, as the possibility of a bidding war to sway carrier influence opens.