Vodafone India has formally requested the Department of Telecommunications and regulator TRAI for immediate allotment of the 1800MHz spectrum, which it had won in auctions. With only 7 weeks left, when as per DoT, the presently deployed spectrum in 900MHz is to be replaced by 900MHz won in auctions. Hence, timely earmarking of the spectrum won is essential for the company to replace existing spectrum which is in full operational use in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata Service Areas.
In places like Delhi the quantum of 900MHz will in fact get reduced from 8MHz to 5MHz. Further in all circles the frequency spots for 900MHz and 1800MHz are changing. In such a scenario it is imperative to deploy the 1800MHz spectrum won in auctions first which will then enable release of the existing 900MHz. Despite several reminders, the spectrum has not been earmarked till now.
Under the current situation, with very little time left and spectrum in 1800MHz not yet earmarked, any such replacement of 900MHz on the prescribed date is bound to considerably impact services despite best efforts by the company even on 24X7 basis. The extensive robust network of Vodafone India has thousands of sites, IBS and repeaters. This changeover under normal circumstances could take at least 6 months after the earmarking of frequencies.
DoT is also on record saying that looking at the technical and implementation issues, it is observed that 6 months period may not be sufficient to migrate the network from 900MHz to 1800MHz band on extension of licence(s) (Reference back by DoT on TRAI’s May 2010 recommendations). The present changeover entails similar technical and implementation issues considering reduction in 900MHz and change in overall frequencies.
This delay in earmarking will seriously affect Vodafone India’s services.