GSMA recommendations to new telecom minister in India

GSMA today urged Indian telecommunications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to share timelines on 2100 MHz and 700 MHz spectrum allocation, periodic review of EMF guidelines, simplify tax structure, solve right of way issues, etc. in order to strengthen the telecom market.

Sandeep Karanwal, head of India, GSMA, interacting with, said: “We appreciate the latest development in the telecom market ever since the new telecom minister took over. The suggestions for a broadband highway will support India’s economic growth. However, spectrum allocation is continuing to be a major issue in India.”

Release 2100 MHz and 700 MHz spectrum

However, the telecom industry, which has telecom players such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Tata Docomo, Aircel, etc. is looking for more clarity on the quantum of spectrum available and time line for the auction. “This will help the telecom operators to plan for the future,” Karanwal added.

Earlier, Assocham, another industry association in India, had urged the new IT and telecom minister to immediately auction all available spectrum in 700, 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands. Assocham said the socio-economic benefits value of the spectrum is over Rs two lakh crore (excluding proceeds from auctions).

Telecom infrastructure status

Along with other industry stakeholders, GSMA wants the Narendra Modi-led BJP government to fully extend the benefits of infrastructure status already granted to the telecom sector two years ago to enhance its competitiveness. This was one of the demands of COAI and Assocham as well.

Recently, Reliance Jio Infocomm, the pan-India 4G licensee, complained that right of way is impacting its roll out plans in some parts of India.

Solve Right of Way hurdles

GSMA’s Sandeep Karanwal (in pix right) today said there should be a central agency to monitor and clear right of way for towers and optical fibers which is critical for faster roll out of telecommunications network.

Earlier, Assocham demanded availability of grid power at industrial rates and preferential / low interest financing for uniform processes for installation and operation of mobile towers across states.

GSMA India

Uniform and simple tax

Despite the demand of the telecom industry, earlier telecom ministers did not support for a uniform tax structure. Currently, the industry is waiting for the Union Budget on July 10 hoping the telecom sector will be able to speed up its revival.

EMF radiation standards issues

GSMA says it supports periodic review of EMF radiation standards for mobile towers and mobile devices with reference to international safety standards. The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently undertaking a review of the scientific evidence relating to possible health risks. GSMA has suggested DoT to monitor this processor through participation in the international advisory committee of the WHO EMF project.

Some countries have adopted limit values that are more restrictive than the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines. These guidelines are barriers to deployment of 4G technologies and will increase the cost of providing mobile services. Recently, the Brussels city govt. in Belgium increased the allowable level from 3 V/m to allow 4G deployment.

The GSMA wants the Indian telecom department to align its radio frequency with global standards and increase communication on the status to citizens, to allay concerns about RF exposure.