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TRAI To Hold Consultations On 4G Spectrum Allocation To BSNL, MTNL

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will hold a consultation on spectrum allocation with State-owned operators BSNL and MTNL soon, a senior official said.

“We have received reference from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) a couple of days back on an allocation of spectrum for 4G services to BSNL and MTNL. We will issue a consultation paper and hold open house discussion on it,” RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI told reporters on the sidelines of an event here on Tuesday.

Both the operators had recently requested the government to allot them spectrum for 4G services in lieu of equity. BSNL, which has the lowest debt of Rs. 14,000 crore among all telecom operators, has sought 4G spectrum across India through equity infusion of Rs. 7000 crore to help it compete in the market.

The Digital Communication Commission, the highest decision maker at DoT, has sought TRAI’s view on the public sector units’ demand for spectrum.

The open house discussion is expected to cover various issues including whether the PSUs should be given spectrum without auction (as they cannot bid along with private operators) and also on the issue of allocation of administrative spectrum, price and quantum of 4G spectrum to BSNL.

BSNL currently has 5MHz of spectrum of 800 MHz band.

Meanwhile, speaking at the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) event, Sharma said that the easy accessibility and affordability of smartphones has shrunk the digital divide between urban and rural India.

“The open operating system (OS) ecosystem has further helped in the establishment of many small, medium and large enterprises. I would, however, wish that India has its own OS developed for our needs,” he said.

ICEA, in association with KPMG released a study report on – Impact Assessment of open OS ecosystem for devices in India – in which it has captured how the proliferation of open OS in mobile devices has enabled widespread demand, use and affordability of smartphones.

It said around 72 percent of mobile application developers in India are using open OS as the base of their development, and they are also getting access to user base of 152 countries via 300 app stores.

“Many apps/services are being accessed primarily on smartphones now. Prevalence of the open OS has also facilitated smartphones supporting multilingual capabilities and also led to the enhancement of the ‘Skill India’ programme by the government,” Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, ICEA said.―The Hindu Business Line

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