Monday, October 20, 2014: The national capital of India, New Delhi, is likely to face partial disruptions in telecom services from December as Department of Telecom is delaying in fresh spectrum allocation. This delay will affect leading operators like Airtel and Vodafone, as per telecom regulator TRAI.
These operators have around 20 million subscribers in Delhi itself which means 45 per cent of the total customer base in the region. These operators have purchased spectrum as their licences will expire by November end. As reported by PTI, TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar said in a letter that a meeting is urgently required to reach a solution so that consumers don’t face much inconvenience. Auctions for the fresh spectrum were held in February and the permits will expire by November.
The two companies had 8MHz spectrum each but Airtel could finally win only 6MHz and Vodafone 5MHz spectrum. Idea Cellular won 5MHz in 900MHz band and they will assign frequencies if Airtel and Vodafone run out of the race. Vodafone spectrum has been issued on 10 October after a 8-month delay but frequencies are yet to be assigned for Airtel. The reasons for this delay are still not clear to the authorities though. Earlier TRAI recommended that operators should get spectrums 18 months before the expiry of licences. The operators also made payments in the first week of March only. TRAI has written the letter only after Cellular Operators Association of India and telecom operators individually wrote to DoT so that spectrums get assigned with immediate effect.