Stuck in a city where your Telecom Provider has no 3G License? Using MNP and porting to a network which does own a license may now be your only option. For instance, Tata Docomo users in Mumbai are unlikely to every get 3G through bilateral sharing of 3G Spectrum between providers.
Yesterday, the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) issued notices to Vodafone and Bharti Airtel. The reason for issuing a notice was that they were providing 3G Services to their customers in states where they did not own their own spectrum for offering 3G services.
According to the TRAI, when a telecom operator won a license for 3G services in a state, they are allowed to offer 3G services there. It is an independent license. This means that they cannot offer 3G services in a state where they have no spectrum, no matter what. Bilateral Sharing of 3G Spectrum will not be allowed.
The Vigilance or TERM Cell of the Department of Telecommunications informed them that 3 operators are already doing so.
“This will cause considerable monetary loss the Government, said one official. “If the three operators become pan-India 3G players through roaming agreements, the government will lose about Rs32,000 crore that it would have got as spectrum price. Moreover, if this is permitted, it will encourage formation of cartel in bidding for all future auction of spectrum,”
However, the 3 operators in question: Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular do not seem to agree with the TRAI.
Spokesmen of Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular insisted that they were in fact following the license terms and conditions and it was all as per the agreement.
We think the Government is getting a bit too greedy and only thinking of their pockets. The 3G Spectrum was already sold at a ridiculously high rate, with 1000′s of Crores of Rupees entering the Government’s pockets. By not allowing operators to share spectrum, the only real loser is the average consumer. They are deprived of using 3G services and are forced to switch providers.
What do you think? Is the Government right in doing so or are they just aiming for more revenue?