India telecom policy yet to focus on release of LTE 4G spectrum

By Telecom Lead Team: Telecom minister Kapil Sibal has
shared details of the forthcoming telecom policy focusing on current issues
affecting the industry. The telecom policy is silent about LTE 4G spectrum
which has the potential to bring in additional investment.


India can create good opportunities for LTE vendors and
operators if the government decides to release 4G spectrum this year. Indian
BWA operators who are planning to launch TD LTE services this year will not be
able to match 4G quality offered by operators such as Verizon or AT&T in


In fact, Asia Pacific is set to account for 29 percent of
LTE device shipments in 2012. India will miss big opportunities due to delay in
releasing spectrum.


North America will be the largest region with 46 percent
share. Having already witnessed over 0.2 million units shipments in 2011,
European LTE device shipments are set to grow at a CAGR of 260 percent over the
next five years.


Asia Pacific to account for 29 percent for LTE device shipments
in 2012


By the end of 2012, it is expected that Europe will
account for nearly 30 percent of all LTE device shipments, representing a
market share worth 1.8 billion USD with nearly 6 million unit shipments.

The Indian telecom industry offered mixed reaction to the telecom policy.


This is a good move and would lead to improvement in
quality of service (QoS) for the end customers. However, the government has not
extended it to 3G as well as inter circle sharing is still not allowed. For the
overall benefit of the ecosystem and providing good quality seamless
connectivity for data and voice services, these aspects need to be taken care
of as well,” said Abhishek Chauhan, senior consultant, ICT Practice, Frost
& Sullivan, South Asia & Middle East.


Airtel welcomes telecom policy


Mobile service provider Bharti Airtel has welcomed the
new telecom policy that will be announced in April 2012.


“We welcome the much awaited policy guidelines
announced by the  Minister today. These guidelines will benefit the
telecom sector immensely in the long run,” Airtel said in a statement.


The decision to apply uniform licence fee across
different telecom licences and service areas is a welcome step and will help
avoid any arbitrage opportunity. Airtel hopes that the government considers
bringing down the licence fee to 6 percent over the next couple of year, as
recommended by the TRAI.


According to Kabil Sibal, India will announce its telecom
policy (National Telecom Policy 2011) in April 2012.


As per the proposed policy, mobile operators will also
now have to pay a unified license fee across all telecommunication services at
8 percent of adjusted gross revenue. Telecom operators currently pay 6 percent-10
percent of their revenue as license fees for basic mobile services, depending
on the areas they operate in.


India will allow mergers and acquisitions in the telecoms
sector that create combined market share of up to 35 percent, under a quick and
simple process, according to communications Minister Kapil Sibal.


All service providers will be allowed to hold higher
spectrum of up to 10 MHz, a move that would help them offer quality services.
The renewal of licence would be done for 10 years.

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