No to WiMax, BSNL seeks refund for surrendering BWA spectrum

Telecom Lead India: BSNL is not keen to launch WiMax
technology based broadband services. The cash strapped service provider has
requested a refund of Rs 8,314 crore for surrendering its broadband wireless
access (BWA) spectrum in 20 circles.


BSNL is the last operator in India to reject WiMax
technology for launching 4G services in the country. Companies such as Tikona
Digital, Aircel, Airtel, Augere and Qualcomm will use TD LTE technology to
introduce 4G broadband services.


BSNL, in their recent letter, dated March 29, 2012 has
submitted proposals with two options: for surrender of BWA spectrum in 2.5-2.69
GHz band allotted to them in all the 20 circles and requested to refund Rs
8,313.9 crore.


Furthermore, the state-owned BSNL has suggested an
alternative, under which it seeks a refund of Rs 6,724.51 crore for
surrendering BWA spectrum in six circles — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra
Pradesh, Kolkata, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, alleging that non-standard
frequency was allotted to it, said Minister of State for Communications and IT
Milind Deora in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

BSNL was allotted BWA spectrum in 2.5-2.69 GHz band in various service areas.
The guidelines issued for auction and allotment of BWA spectrum stipulated that
one block of 20 MHz shall be allocated to BSNL in all the service areas
immediately at a price equal to the highest bid in the respective area.

In its letter, the state-owned operator has alleged that at the time it planned
for wireless broadband, WiMax was the only technology available and
commercially used worldwide. However, telecom industry is now moving towards
LTE technology.

“LTE-TDD technology in the 2.5 GHz band allocated to BSNL is still in
development stage and BSNL cannot utilize it for commercial services and other
operators have been allocated spectrum in 2.3 GHz band and ecosystem around
this band is developing faster,” BSNL said in the letter.


The state-run telecom firm said the 2.5 GHz band, being
the higher band, would require more towers to cover rural areas, compared to
2.3 GHz band, which puts “BSNL in a disadvantageous position”, it

BSNL did not make any request for the change of frequencies from 2.5 GHz to
2.3 GHz band until the publication of Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) issued
on February 25, 2010, a public document for BWA spectrum auction and even until
the declaration of results of successful bidders of the auction in 2.3-2.4 GHz
band,” Deora added.

BSNL posted gross revenue of Rs 4,166.73 crore for
the quarter ended 31, December 2011, down 11.19 percent against Rs 4,691.86
crore for the quarter ended 30, September 2011.


BSNL’s cash reserve dwindled to Rs 2,500 crore
in 2010- 2011 from Rs 30,000 crore two years back.


BSNL income down 8% to Rs 29,688 crore in 2010-11, loss
at Rs 6,384 crore

Recently, BSNL posted 8 percent decrease in revenue to Rs
29,688 crore in 2010-11 against Rs 32,045 crore in the previous fiscal,
according to results posted on BSNL’s website.


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