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Tata relinquishes CDMA spectrum

18 Dec 2013

Tata Teleservices (TTSL) has returned its excess CDMA spectrum in 15 regions to avoid the one-off charge for holding more than 2.5MHz of CDMA frequencies per circle, the Economic Times writes. The operator has surrendered all spectrum beyond the 2.5MHz start-up limit in 15 circles, but has kept 3.75MHz in the busier Delhi and Mumbai areas, where it will pay the surcharge. Commentators have suggested that this move indicates a shift away from CDMA technology for the dual-technology provider. Reports have also speculated that the return of the spectrum removes potential complications, if the cellco becomes a target for future merger or acquisition, especially given the lack of clarity regarding a market price for CDMA spectrum. Under new rules for takeovers, the acquiring company is required to pay the market rate for excess spectrum, although additional frequencies purchased at auction are omitted from this rule. However, whilst setting fees for GSM frequencies for the upcoming 3G auction, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) opted not to determine a price for CDMA spectrum on the basis that there was no demand for the airwaves.

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