CDMA operators to get 3G spectrum auction

26 Aug 2008

The decision to allocate 3G spectrum to CDMA operators based on the size of an operators subscriber base has been overturned by the Telecom Commission, Indian news source The Economic Times is reporting. Initial policy guidelines put forward by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the allocation of 3G spectrum had ruled that the CDMA operator with the largest subscriber base in any circle would automatically be given first right of refusal. Under the new ruling the process will see spectrum in the 800MHz band offered by auction to all CDMA operators, with the Telecoms Commission setting pricing at INR400 million (USD9.18 million) for Category A circles, INR200 million for Category B and INR75 million for Category C; the base price has been fixed at a quarter of the price GSM operators will pay for 3G frequencies as CDMA players can bid only for 1.25MHz of radio frequencies in the 800MHz band while GSM players will bid for 5MHz of 3G spectrum in the 2.1GHz band. The DoT was forced to review the 3G policy following criticism by the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that the government’s decision to allot 3G spectrum to CDMA players without an auction was against principles of equality.