The heads of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have jointly written a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee seeking his intervention to prevent spectrum refarming, which apart from resulting in an increase in call rates, would cost them over Rs 1 lakh crore.
The CEOs, in the letter said, their companies would have to make investments to re-tune their networks to the new frequency. If the re-tuning is not done, it could impact as many as 70 million subscribers.
The letter was jointly by Bharti Airtel CEO India and South Asia Sanjay Kapoor, Vodafone India Managing Director CEO Marten Pieters and Idea Cellular Managing Director Himanshu Kapania.
The TRAI proposal, if implemented, may result in call rates going up by as much as 64 paise a minute, the letter said. The telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had recommended refarming of spectrum after the operators licenses come up for renewal between 2014 and 2025.
If refarming happens, operators using 900 Mhz spectrum will need to replace 286,590 base stations and install an additional 171,954 base stations to provide equivalent coverage using 1800 Mhz spectrum, according to study by research firm Analysis Mason which was commissioned by Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India which points out that the maximum harm will inflicted on consumers.
So what is making these operators to unite and lobby separately when COAI is already in talk with empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) regarding the same issue ? Do you think operators are really looking at consumer value regarding the tariff hike or there is some motive behind the screen do share your views via comments.