The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has granted three companies – Reliance
Communications, HFCL and Shyam Telelink – the right to use GSM technology in their existing licence areas, where they currently offer mobile services using CDMA technology. HFCL and Shyam Tele are hardly serious players and are beyond the scope of discussion here.
RCOM currently has GSM operations in 8/22 circles and had applied for GSM spectrum (under its existing UASL licence) in the other 14 circles where it currently operates a CDMA network. The company has confirmed this development and expects to get the GSM spectrum soon. This means that Reliance GSM will get the spectrum sooner in the remaining circles. This hasn’t gone too well with other players, especially Kumar Birla of Idea Cellular who has raised objection and through COAI is has sent letters to TRAI and DoT.
Additionally, the COAI lobby representing GSM operators have approached Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh to protect the interest of existing players since more than 40 companies are in queue for the precious spectrum. COAI said,
It may first be pointed out that crossover is not permissible under the present policy and the license regime has been recognised by both DoT as well as TRAI. TRAI has recorded the same in both the recommendations that such crossover is not permissible , however, the same may be allowed through an amendment in the license.
The battle will now intensify and the whole; issue should be re-examined.