Spectrum Delay to Disrupt Telephony Services in Three Megacities
If you are living in Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata and are a subscriber of either of the two largest mobile service providers, Vodafone and Airtel, there might be trouble brewing ahead for you. Mobile telephony may get disrupted the coming month in these cities because of the delay in spectrum allocation.
In February this year, the spectrum allocation bid took place. All major service providers got their share. But the government allotted the airwaves just this month. This might cause a lot of trouble especially for the subscribers of Vodafone and Airtel, whose spectrum expires in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata by the end of next month. The companies have to vacate the 900 MHz spectrum and shift to 1800 MHz.
As the Department of Telecom (DoT) allocated the spectrum to the companies this month, they are asking for a six-month extension. This request was made by GSM industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). According to them, shifting of frequencies and bands require at least six months to make a smooth transition. They said that a lot of groundwork needs to be carried out, which includes new tower locations, antenna tuning, network configuration, etc. And hence, they require a minimum extension of six-month for a seamless transfer.
The decision will affect a giant section of mobile users in those cities. It is estimated that combined user share of Vodafone, Airtel and Idea in Delhi accounts for 26 million, which is almost 79% of the GSM mobile users. In Mumbai, the trio provides GSM services to 72% of mobile users.
DoT, however, hasn’t given any assurance to the companies. The representatives of the industry will be meeting with the officials at the DoT on Friday. The result of the meet will decide the fate of millions of mobile connections. If talks fail, it will not just create a connectivity issue but will create an economical issue as well, considering that a good number of businessmen are now dependent on their phones for their livelihood. We’ll get to know how things work out for everyone this Friday.