3G Spectrum sharing by telco’s should be allowed or not? A policy dilemma for regulator
Policy issue : explanation and brief background
Telecom Service Provider
Four leading telecom firms - Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, and Tatas - have joined hands to defend their 3G spectrum sharing
Under which they would be able to offer 3G services in circles where one of them does not have spectrum, but one of the other does
Government and Regulator
Examining the legality of agreements, UASL (unified access service licence) licensee cannot offer 3G services, declare a tariff plan or acquire customers in a circle it hasn't been allocated 3G spectrum
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) is not be allowed for 3G
Maximum 4 Operator’s in a circle are allowed for 3G Service including one state owned entity (BSNL now has to face competition due to upto 6 players in a circle post pacts)
Unfair competition to those who don’t have 3G Spectrum as they don’t have any bait to offer for such pact
Let consumer decide which operator to choose through M obile N umber P ortability
What is at stake ? Telco’s justification "The UASL licences clearly permit the operators to provide "all types of access services". Indisputably, 2G, 3G, 4G are all merely different technologies for access services -- all permissible in our technology-neutral UASL environment," # Impact Item Degree of Impact (1 to 5, low to severe) Consumer 1] Service Quality and Price 2 Telecom Service Provider 2] Revenue thru additional subscriber 3 3] Synergistic Cost efficiencies 3 4] Additional revenue thru lease of spectrum 3 Government or Regulator 5] FDI, Negative impact on investor sentiment 1 6] Additional Revenue opportunity (% of revenue annually) 2 7] Efficient spectrum utilization and promoting broadband penetration 2
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Evaluation… If allowed , economic, political and technological (business facilitator ) cost benefit analysis indicates – Undue advantage to few players, violation of spirit of law which were clearly spelled during bidding and award of spectrum. Govt. role to ensure provision of level playing field to other industry player can be diluted Overall not in favor of majority of the stakeholder’s on long-run On contrary, regulator should clarify the misinterpretation of the rules by handful of service provider’s and can take appropriate permissible actions to safeguard the interest of majority of the stakeholders