It has been just few days since the government announced 3G policy and its weaknesses are already coming out. Telecom regulator TRAI has expressed its displeasure over the 3G spectrum allocation plans to CDMA players. TRAI wants that CDMA players should also compete for the spectrum through auction rather than being allocated by subscriber base criteria.
As per the new policy, the CDMA players will be allotted spectrum according to the subscriber base of companies in each circle. Given the fact that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has just enough spectrum in the 800 MHz band to accommodate one player for now, the largest player in each circle will get the spectrum automatically.
This means that Reliance Communications, which is market leader in all the circles except New Delhi and Maharashtra, will be able to roll out its service before anyone else. Also, the fact that it may take a year before the defense sector will vacate spectrum and the same may be allotted to other players; Reliance will get a good head start of rest of the players like Tata Teleservices, BSNL, MTNL etc.
TRAI feels that since the 2G CDMA spectrum and licences were given to operators at different times, it will not be fair to make subscriber base a criteria for 3G spectrum allocation. Rather, the regulator feels that, CDMA players should also compete through an auction like their GSM counterparts.