Telecom industry looking for more spectrum: COAI

New Delhi, July 14 :

The telecom industry is hopeful the government would release more spectrum for better growth of voice and data services in the country, industry body Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI)’s newly-elected chairman Marten Pieters said Monday.

Pieters, the Vodafone India CEO and MD, said the industry is looking forward for more spectrum as in India, the spectrum holding by the telecom service providers is really low compared to many other nations.
“In some countries the average spectrum holding is 50 to 100 Mhz, whereas in India it is 30 MHz on an average. In India we are far away from that. We need more spectrum,” Pieters said in his address after being elected to head COAI, which represents six of the largest mobile service operators of the country, for 2014-15.

“We recommend early release of 2,100 MHz bands for better growth of data services in the country,” he added.

Regarding release of 700 MHz, which will help in 4G LTE roll out in the country, he said: “Any spectrum is welcome. But development of handsets will take some time. It is better that the government makes more 3G spectrum available because that is where the market is.”

Bharti Airtel’s CEO and MD (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal has been elected as the vice chairman of COAI, .

Regarding the future of the telecom industry, Pieters said it will depend on a few key aspects like reasonable pricing of spectrum, availability and affordability of smartphones, power and tower availability and customer attrition depending on tariffs.

About the electric and magnetic field (EMF) radiation and its side effects, he said the industry stakeholders would like equal government participation to reassure people that the radiation does not have any bad effects on health.

On the new government and the industry expectations, Pieters said the industry will forward to “development oriented policy regime” from the new government.


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