Another telecom trouble: Tata Teleservices and Reliance cause Rs 52,000 crore loss to India government – COAI

By Telecom Lead Team: Is another round of battle brewing
between dual technologies operators (Reliance Communications and Tata
Teleservices) and GSM mobile providers in India? Cellular operators Association
of India (COAI) says the government lost over INR 51,977 crore owing to
license and related violations by these dual technology operators.


COAI wants the government to take back GSM spectrum owned by
both Reliance and Tata Teleservices auction. These spectrum slots should be
made available for auction during the next round of auction of 2G spectrum.


Dual technology operators are beneficiaries of a decision
taken by DOT during September 2007 to March 2008.


COAI says decisions taken during this period have been held
to be illegal by the Supreme Court via order dated 2nd Feb, 2012.


Allocation of dual spectrum during the period tantamount to
allocation of second license to these companies in the same service area which
otherwise is not allowed as per cross holding restrictions.


In COAI view, the spectrum allocated to Dual-Technology
operators should be withdrawn and re-allocated through fair auction

COAI alleges that dual technology operators have violated the rollout
obligations, in accordance with the GSM spectrum allocated to them, as they
were required to meet the same mandated by TRAI/ DoT for GSM services.


These players are in severe non-compliance of the roll-out
obligations even after almost three years of spectrum allocation – a serious
issue deserving the same regulatory measures as is applicable to all other
licensees/operators who were allocated GSM spectrum in 2008 and who may have
failed to meet the licensed rollout obligations.

In violation of the TRAI mandate that CDMA operators would have to acquire the
requisite spectrum in the CDMA identified bands and pay auction determined
prices, these operators are offering EVDO services on their existing spectrum,
without paying the auction prices as determined by the 3G spectrum auction.


This is a violation of the principle of level playing field
and has caused an estimated loss of INR 14,823 crore to the


The fact that dual technology operators pay ongoing spectrum
usage charges on a disaggregated spectrum basis as opposed to paying on a
combined spectrum basis (as done by the GSM operators), causes a major loss to
the government which can be estimated at about INR 26,000 crore.