MTS India Want to Buy Additional Spectrum to Expand Operations Across the Country

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd. (SSTL), which provides CDMA Mobile and Data services under the MTS brand today, informed Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) that it wants to invest in India and participate in upcoming spectrum auctions to expand operations in more telecom circles in the country.

MTS India - SSTL

MTS India has said this in a protest letter to India’s telecom regulator TRAI against its recommendation to Department of Telecom (DoT) that there should be no auction of CDMA airwaves.

MTS was only bidder for the CDMA spectrum (800 Mhz band) in the March 2013 auctions and won spectrum to operate in 8 circles – Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West) & West Bengal out of total 22 circles for Rs 3,639 crore.The company already had its operations running in Rajasthan service area.

Earlier TRAI has said in its recommendations 900 Mhz band (2G /GSM spectrum) that there is no demand for the CDMA spectrum, except from SSTL, as was seen in the last auction and one telecom operator had offered to surrender some its airwaves frequency in the CDMA band.

In the letter, SSTL (MTS India) CEO Dmitry Shukov protested against Trai recommendation to explore opportunity for making part of CDMA spectrum band available for extended GSM services.

Shukov stated that “We are perturbed by the Authority’s recommendation to cull out significant portion of 800 MHz band to create EGSM band and withhold auction of 800 MHz spectrum band. Our decision to investment in 800 MHz spectrum band was based on current and future availability of spectrum in this band.”

The Department of Telecom (DoT) panel is expected to submit its report on Auction of Spectrum by September 30 after which it will be placed before inter- ministerial body Telecom Commission which is scheduled to meet on 3rd October 2013. The Telecom Commission of India’s views will be placed before the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on spectrum, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, for final decision on auction of Spectrum.

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  • softdina September 30, 2013 8:16 am

    I used 99% of a day in CDMA..Its better, ppl sud know it..

  • Anked Paralkar September 27, 2013 11:04 am

    There is tremendous growth for CDMA in India.The government should give equal importance to CDMA operators and offer adequate spectrum to offer good mobile services across the country.By the way MTS wishes to expand it services across India…but it seems like Indian government is least interested in supporting MTS to grow.
    Lackadaisical attitude of Indian telecom ministry.Pretty shame!

  • Keshav Jha September 27, 2013 10:07 am

    The bad and changing policies of Indian Govt. has left MTS helpless. Firstly, their license were cancelled then they were compelled to give higher price and now again they are being compelled to limit in circles. I was also thinking that this time MTS will by spectrum in more circles but here TRAI has recommended not to sell. All operators should be Pan India, otherwise it is neither beneficial for consumers nor operators. Where is One Nation One license plan now?

  • Vikas September 27, 2013 12:51 am

    no one uses cdma now and if its not even pan indIa then no use

    • Udayan Ray October 1, 2013 11:33 am

      Just rubbish…I have been using MTS from the date of its launch in Kolkata Circle..I have been a very satisfied customer with very low call rates,more than good coverage(in such low rate),descent voice quality,now good sms delivery system…!!!No one can match MTS…No wrongful deductions…I am using it in an unlocked Samsung CDMA set and everything is unmatched..

  • Esmail September 26, 2013 11:58 pm

    Now MTS is just acting like a pain in the ass, currently just 4 operators are holding air waves in the 800MHz band Reliance, Tata, MTS and (BSNL+MTNL). Out of this also MTS and TATA have plans of merger so the two CDMA operations will become one, mostly with MTS buying new spectrum with unified licence and surrendering the existing CDMA spectrum held by tata so as to not have to pay market price to retain it. Agreed MTS is ambitious and will look to expand Rev.B and LTE operations on 800MHz band, yet the amount of spectrum that will remain available after converting part of it to EGSM band is sufficient to meet the needs of all three CDMA operators for the future. The need of the hour to carry out smooth refarming of 900MHz band is to free up EGSM band and put it up for auction, like it or not GSM defines the face of Indian telecom not CDMA and the government should look at options which will prove to be beneficial to the majority of subscribers.

    • Kanaga Deepan N September 27, 2013 1:55 pm

      You are right Mr. Esmail… What TRAI trying to say is there is ZERO competition for precious 850MHz CDMA spectrum, whereas there is relatively HUGE demand for inefficient 1800MHz only because it is GSM. If there is ZERO competition DoT/TRAI will be forced to give the precious 850MHz spectrum for price which MTS wants.. It may at first glance look like good for consumers, but IT IS NOT.. Even if MTS got them for cheaper, there is NO confirmation that they will provide cheap tariff. Easily they are having the costlier EVDO plans on their LOCKED handsets…

      But now just guess the situation where DoT/TRAI is going to sell 850MHz spectrum (slightly more efficient than 900MHz spectrum hold by AVoId-BSNL) and Uninor/TataGSM got it in auction.. You may get BEST coverage + SAB SE SASTA (Cheapest tariff) plans from Uninor… It will be definitely much much better than MTS getting those airwaves for dirt cheap (due to ZERO competition) and continue to provide COSTLIEST EVDO data plans on their LOCKED modems…

      I agree CDMA is technically a better technology than GSM wrt spectrum effeciency, data speed, voice clarity, etc… But what about the adoption rate???

      Already Qualcomm the father of CDMA has screwed 50% of CDMA worthness by having it so closed (GSM is open standard) , patents, royalty and all other Bu11 Sh!ts, due to their greediness. Even it has implemented it in a complicated way UNNECESSARILY, like say
      [1] No USSD,
      [2] Call timer NOT accurate [timer runs before call gets connected--its a measure of airtime and NOT real call duration],
      [3] while on 1x data phone will be in engaged mode,
      [4] number and EVDO activation in non-sim phones,
      [5] con-call complications (you have to save number 3 as a contact in some phones),
      [6] Long SMS limitations (comes as truncated multi SMS)
      [7] 0091 and +91 complications (But GSM works in both cases)

      Then our Indian operators has screwed the remaining 50% worthness by
      [1] lack of good handsets at reasonable prices,
      [2] changing focus to GSM and neglecting CDMA (Tata,RCom even with their CR@PPY GSM networks,BSNL),
      [3] Locked and over-priced or CHEAP+WORST handsets and modems,
      [4] charging premium for EVDO data (now changing due to competition from 3Gsm),
      [5] not increasing coverage and shutting down towers,
      [6] not allowing feature rich foreign handsets to their network (ALL except RCDMA),
      [7] Unnecessarily increasing the already complicated etc…

      I love the CDMA technology, but pity its killed already in India by Qualcomm and operators. So I think TRAI is right this time…

      • JIJO September 27, 2013 2:44 pm

        I also prefer CDMA to GSM,simply because it’s reliable call quality. Using a CDMA mobile is as good as carrying a Land line connection. It’s a pity that people in India fail to recognize it. The lopsided attitude and policies of Qualcom and Trai are also responsible for the present conditon.

  • gaurav September 26, 2013 11:05 pm

    Nice move by MTS in the terms of business expansion….