In a build up to the upcoming broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum auctioning in India, which is generally perceived as WiMAX spectrum auction, the WiMAX forum today called for the government to address some issues before marching ahead with the adoption of the technology in the country.
Expressing displeasure at the alleged favouritism showered on the BSNL-Soma tie-up which is offering services in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, the forum called the government to ask the tie-up to conform with the globally laid out standards as well as those applicable in India for WiMAX services. It said that the FDD-based spectrum band given to the tie-up may result in a scenario leading to violation of level playing field and killing of competition in the three states leading to monopolistic business environment.
“TDD and FDD can not co-exist” said Arogyaswami Pualraj, reputed globally for his contribution to the evolution of WiMAX technology. He added that the scenario may in fact prove detrimental to the business interests of BSNL as well since its network would also not be able to co-exist with that of other operators.
Responding to the public interest litigations (PIL) filed by some internet service providers (ISPs) over the spectrum vacation directives issued to them by the government, the forum suggested that the country should go ahead with its initiatives concerning the introduction of BWA services and give importance to national interests rather than succumbing to opposition from the ISPs. The forum said that such interruptions in the form of PILs from ISPs which are few in number, should not halt the progress of adoption of the technology.
The forum also asked the government to keep the validity of the licence for BWA same as that for 3G services i.e. at 20 years. The DoT’s latest memorandum mentions that the validity for BWA operators will be for 15 years.
“We are pleased with the overall government guidelines on BWA spectrum auction except for the mentioned issues” said C S Rao, Chairman WiMAX forum India. “Though 30 MHz of spectrum per operator would have been preferred ideally, the operators can still have a feasible and viable business case for WiMAX services till 2015 with 20 MHz of spectrum,” he added.