Spectrum sharing to push LTE in India: TRAI

NEW DELHI: Poor capital investment, spectrum constraint, Right of way, are some of the issues curtailing the deployment of 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) in India and spectrum sharing is the only way forward to push LTE technology, said N Parameswaran, Principal Advisor (Network, Spectrum & Licensing), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“Poor availability of power for the transmission towers, right of way problems and spectrum availability are few major concerns for the growth of LTE in India…In India, with about 10 telecom service operators in the country as compared with the global average of three or four, the spectrum made available for the Indian telecom service providers is only one-fifth,” he said during the LTE India conference.

Meanwhile, Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), pointed out that the Indian telecom service operators were providing data over voice networks despite the poor spectrum availability.

Industry experts voiced their concerns over not monetizing 3G fully. The 3G investments have not been monetized since three years and the penetration of 3G technology amongst users was limited to 16 per cent of the subscriber base for mobiles.

Vipin Tyagi, Executive Director, Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), stressed on the fact that the country would require much larger bandwidth because of the huge concentrated population. He further added that the operators have been able to exploit advantages of a holistic market, collaborate amongst themselves and promote commoditization of services.

He further said that nobody was investing in increasing upload and download speed.

“Projecting ‘IoT in action’ expansion and upgradation of networks for the high capacity new LTE technology is required”, said Arvind Bali, Director and CEO, Videocon Telecom.

The service operators is ready to launch wireless broadband services using 1800 and 800 MHz bandwidth. The issue faced was not of network but was of building up the market, Bali added.

“Apart from paying higher international price for equipment, seventy per cent of their investments is for license to use spectrum, yet the Indian operators provides the lowest cost service to the consumers,” he said.

Cautioning the country about the poor financial health of the industry, he was critical about the government’s proposal for reframing of services on less efficient bandwidth, which had several cost implications for the already overburdened operators.

Adrian Scrase, Head of Mobile Competence Centre, 3GPP & CTO, ETSI revealed that device availability for LTE had risen considerably.

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