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UMTS Forum against 3G auction in India

Posted: 20 Dec 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3G? handset? mobile phone? 3G auction? UMTS Forum?

India should not hold an auction for 3G spectrum, especially at the high base price recommended by the government's telecom regulatory body, according to the Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) Forum.

The forum, an international body pushing UMTS technology in the rollout of 3G mobile telephony, said its opposition was prompted by problems encountered in Europe with 3G auctions. It plans to write to India's Department of Telecommunications asking it to reject the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to auction the spectrum.

Forum chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaime was quoted in The Asian Age as saying, "The government should prevent the initial investors from being overburdened." Instead of an auction, he suggested the government should follow an "entry price with beauty contest" format, the report from New Delhi said.

Auctions of 3G spectrum in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and United Kingdom resulted in a high price that jeopardized the profitability of 3G telephony, the forum maintains. Bienaime suggested India follow the example of France, where operators were charged a reasonable entry fee, then were asked to pay a yearly fee based on 3G usage.

"We recommend that 3G IMT 2000 2GHz spectrum should be released to mobile operators here in due time to keep pace with 3G developments in the rest of the world," Bienaime said. "Moreover, 3G 2GHz spectrum and additional frequencies at 800MHz should be released simultaneously."

The forum opposed a mixed-band proposal, saying it would increase costs to meet the need for additional filtering at the base stations. Terminal-to-terminal interference issues would also cause severe difficulties for operators and end-users, the forum said.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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