Refarming Spectrum To Impact Connectivity and Consumers

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s proposal on spectrum refarming will have a substantial cost to the industry, including an increase in tariff that would inconvenience to consumers in coming days, with no benefit to stakeholders.

According to the study, the implementation of current refarming recommendations will require replacement of 286,590 existing 900 MHz base stations with 1800 MHz equipment.

This is in addition to deployment of 171,954 new base stations on 1800 MHz to fill coverage gaps this will result in an incremental capital expenditure.

The maximum harm will be to the rural consumers, the already connected, as well as the large population of waiting to be connected, Analysys Mason, a London based market intelligence firm, said in a study which was commissioned by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea.

If the incremental investment in refarming and the costs of spectrum are passed on to consumers in the form of enhanced retail voice tariffs, the overall tariffs will go up by as much as 64 paise per outgoing minute (30 paise due to refarming and 34 paise from spectrum investments).

So as a reader what’s your take, How big do you think this will impact on consumers and common man like you and me? Do share your views via comments.

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  • Saptarshi Roy June 7, 2012 9:43 am

    SOUMYARANJAN BISWAL :
    I think non of them is advantageous though
    In 900Mhz it is More Coverage Less Channels – Suitable for Rural
    In 1800MHz it is more Channels Less Coverage – Suitable for Urban

    I could be wrong but I think its just the opposite. 900 Mhz is suitable for urban and densely populated areas as it can penetrate thick walls and similar structures. On the other hand 1800Mhz can provide wider coverage suitable for rural and sparsely populated areas.

    Please correct me if I am wrong. :)

  • Anirban June 6, 2012 7:17 pm

    I know that but want to know about its spectrum price ? Is it increased? @Saurabh Jain

  • drkavint June 6, 2012 7:10 pm

    funny india,
    where mobile rates are too low… milk rate is too high….
    government afraid to hike call tarrif by 30 p, but will increase petrol by rs.7…
    3g is still heaven high,, 2g is too low…
    increase tariff but give us clarity…
    kill china handsets.. kill high radiation towers… promote cdma and post paid connections…
    improve quality dont think of quantity

  • Ganesh June 6, 2012 12:57 pm

    @SOUMYARANJAN
    Correct.
    900MHZ has more range. That is one tower can cover 4 to 6km. Usually deployed in rural areas and highways.
    1800MHZ has less range. But more capacity. Usually deployed in dense urban areas.

    I think the operators should not be forced to vacate 900MHZ spectrum but in addition to 900MHZ they should be given 1800MHZ too.

  • Gourav June 6, 2012 10:44 am

    @kingston
    Govt. just taking what thay loosed in last auction…Operators weepings are just to make more profit which thay are making n not giving the exact figures to govt..
    I thinks its justified for operators to pay a bit more to govt..
    instead of spending Crores on Advertising n Media….

  • kingston June 6, 2012 9:24 am

    Waste and foolish move by Indian Telecom. Instead of this They try to force (or create a law) the incumbent player to install additional towers in Rural areas or charge extra price for 900Mhz spectrum. What is your opinion my beloved TT fans?

  • Syam June 6, 2012 6:19 am

    If the refarming happents I would like to port my number to airtel ,if the airtel has got the spectrum in 900 mhz in kerala circle. Currently idea, vodafone and bsnl has got 900 mhz in kerala. Rest other gsm operators are in 1800 mhz.

    • hasbin October 30, 2013 1:34 pm

      is it airtel is now in 900mhz in kerala??

  • Gourav June 6, 2012 3:58 am

    K Sudheendra Rao :
    This is absolutely absurd logic.Imagine with this it self the new operators do earn profit(no body does business for charity purposes), how much money must have been made by these incumbent operators! now when profits are being asked to be shared with other company and the govt. they are playing with all these kind of tricks(tariffs will increase publicity!). Still can you recollect the fact that these are first companies to raise the tariffs even though new ones almost remained at the same. now they want to increase further and hence giving some logic to fool people.

    so true …..ab tak jo profit banaya hai,use share karne mein taklif to hogi hi….

  • Saurabh Jain June 6, 2012 1:48 am

    MTS and All other CDMA operator will remain on same 800Mhz Band. 1900 MHz Band is yet to be Vacant by defense Forces

  • Saurabh Jain June 6, 2012 1:46 am

    It will remain on 800Mhz Band
    As 1900 MHz Spectrum yet to be vacant by Defense Forces @Anirban

  • Saurabh Jain June 6, 2012 1:41 am

    Will remain same
    As spectrum in 1900 MHz yet to be freed from defense forces @Anirban

  • Anirban June 6, 2012 12:57 am

    What is about “MTS”, which uses 800 MHz band ???

  • manish kumar k June 5, 2012 11:46 pm

    1) spectrum and licences should be companies who have competencies and expertise in telecom sector and have capital to make proper investments
    2) pricing of spectrum should be such that a win win situation to customer and service provider…
    3) a neutral authority must monitor tariffs and profits and margins of service providers and thus price spectrum accordingly…licence should be max. of tri yearly renewable…
    4) a technology body should be there 2 regulate efficient use of spectrum and farming to different technologies

  • Animesh June 5, 2012 11:39 pm

    It would be a huge waste of resources, by stipulating that existing operators at 900 Mhz frequency need to migrate to the 1800 Mhz frequency.Rather these funds should be utilized for improvement of network and services.Such policies are a waste as they would increase the cost of mobility and reduce the no of subscriber,and upward cost in mobile telecom would impact the no of subscribers and significantly impact the revenues of Mobile co’s

  • Raghu June 5, 2012 11:35 pm

    Refarming of Spectrum should not be done. The operators were looting money as they want and then New Operators like DOCOMO,Uninor came and reduce the prices. now they are saying they want to pass this on to the customer.Even now they will be making money . EGOMs should not accept refarming of spectrum as it will have big impact in the telecom industry.

  • Raghu June 5, 2012 11:33 pm

    @Merc
    i have seen it myself thats why i am advising u.

  • Raghu June 5, 2012 11:32 pm

    @Merc
    pl complain in pgportal.gov.in u will definitely get problem resolved for AIRTEL,IDEA,BSNL. Trust me.

  • manish kumar k June 5, 2012 11:32 pm

    this will burn cartel(airtel voda idea) who have 900 Mhz in most circles..if on refarming they lose 900 Mhz they hav 2 move to 1800 Mhz which requires more base station density….its undue benefit for cartel(airtel voda idea) they hold 900 mhz(price of 1800 Mhz being same as of 900 Mhz)…it requires them to invest less in infrastructure..and provide better coverage….while docomo uninor..who r providing cheap calling rates have been alloted 1800 mhz for same price…hence they suffer poor network coverage……ther should be rationalized different pricing for 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz

  • krishnendu June 5, 2012 11:20 pm

    K Sudheendra Rao :
    This is absolutely absurd logic. It is known that many operators have already deployed base station in 1800MHZ spectrum. Only incubant operators are having 900MHZ spectrum. why should they get undue advantage? Even at level playing fields(many new operators) in 1800 MHz the tariff was lowered by the new operators and hence the present tariff is still with in the reach even after refarmation. Imagine with this it self the new operators do earn profit(no body does business for charity purposes), how much money must have been made by these incumbent operators! now when profits are being asked to be shared with other company and the govt. they are playing with all these kind of tricks(tariffs will increase publicity!). Still can you recollect the fact that these are first companies to raise the tariffs even though new ones almost remained at the same. now they want to increase further and hence giving some logic to fool people.

    well said…

  • SOUMYARANJAN BISWAL June 5, 2012 11:16 pm

    I think non of them is advantageous though

    In 900Mhz it is More Coverage Less Channels – Suitable for Rural

    In 1800MHz it is more Channels Less Coverage – Suitable for Urban

  • Rehan June 5, 2012 11:14 pm

    It will be very uncomfortable for us. Trai should think about us.

  • Sudhakar June 5, 2012 10:40 pm

    Better to dispose all our SIM cards and use landline !!!!!!. I think the telecom industry is going backwards.

  • Merc June 5, 2012 10:38 pm

    Airtel, Idea and BSNL have 900mhz spectrum in Hyderabad, but all 3 networks give only 1 bar in my house. At times there is no signal at all.

    where as Vodafone, Aircel, Uninor and Reliance have full signal in my house. they all use 1800mhz spectrum. Incumbent operators are taking undue advantage of 900mhz spectrum and not expanding coverage.

    they should be forced to move to 1800mhz spectrum, then only they will look at adding additional towers.

  • Steve June 5, 2012 10:20 pm

    R R Kumar :
    refarming should not be done. Instead those with 1800 mhz should be allotted 700 mhz

    wel said even i want the same thing…but its not 700mhz its 900mhz.in 700mhz our indian dual band handsets wont work…

  • K Sudheendra Rao June 5, 2012 10:09 pm

    This is absolutely absurd logic. It is known that many operators have already deployed base station in 1800MHZ spectrum. Only incubant operators are having 900MHZ spectrum. why should they get undue advantage? Even at level playing fields(many new operators) in 1800 MHz the tariff was lowered by the new operators and hence the present tariff is still with in the reach even after refarmation. Imagine with this it self the new operators do earn profit(no body does business for charity purposes), how much money must have been made by these incumbent operators! now when profits are being asked to be shared with other company and the govt. they are playing with all these kind of tricks(tariffs will increase publicity!). Still can you recollect the fact that these are first companies to raise the tariffs even though new ones almost remained at the same. now they want to increase further and hence giving some logic to fool people.

  • R R Kumar June 5, 2012 9:51 pm

    refarming should not be done. Instead those with 1800 mhz should be allotted 700 mhz