Telcos Seek More Spectrum To Boost Voice And Data: COAI

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 15, 2014


The telecom industry is hopeful the government would release more spectrum to boost voice and data services in the country, said Marten Pieters, Vodafone India CEO and MD, who has been newly elected as Chairman of industry body Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) that represents six of the largest mobile service operators in India, besides telecom equipment manufacturersas well as other communication services and product companies in the country.

At its annual general body meeting 2014-15 held on July 14, Pieters, who has been elected to head COAI said, “The industry is keen on more spectrum because the spectrum holding by the telecom service providers is really low in India when compared to many other nations. “In some countries the average spectrum holding is 50 to 100 Mhz, whereas in India it is 30 MHz on an average. In India we are far away from that and therefore need more spectrum.” 

COAI recommends an early release of 2,100 MHz bands for better growth of data services in the country. The  release of 700 MHz is further expected to drive 4G LTE roll out in the country. “Any spectrum is welcome. But development of handsets will take some time. It is better that the government makes more 3G spectrum available because that is where the market lies,” Pieters added.

Regarding the future of the telecom industry, Pieters said in a recent TOI interview that it will depend on a few key aspects like reasonable pricing of spectrum, availability and affordability of smartphones, power and tower availability and customer attrition depending on tariffs. He also said, after years of uncertainty and policy paralysis, we are expecting a definitive roadmap for the telecom sector from the new government in the Center and believes that the industry can discuss issues related to the development oriented policy regime with the new government.

Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel’s CEO and MD (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal has been elected as the vice chairman of COAI, while Himanshu  Kapania stepped down from the Chairman’s role, Marten Pieters and Gopal Vittal the best as they take over the new leadership of COAI. Rajan  S  Mathews,  Director  General,  COAI will continue to drive the changes in his existing role, he said in a company statement.