There’s much controversy about Reliance Communications being allowed to jump queue and pay just Rs. 1651 for a GSM license and the valuable spectrum that comes with it, while GSM existing players are struggling to provide quality services. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had several instances of dropped calls and poor voice clarity over the past couple of weeks – Airtel seems to be struggling.
The COAI, representing existing GSM players, had sent a legal notice to the department of Telecom, over the apparent preferential treatment being given to Reliance Communications; the also filed a Right To Information petition demanding that the government reveal how they decided the new telecom policy (detailed here). Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Communications has defended his company, saying that the COAIs action is not representative of the Industry, and two of the five companies who had gone to the TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) have withdrawn from the case. He pointed out the GSM operators are operating as a cartel of sorts – fixing prices – and have been anti consumer.
There just appears to be a trend – first the policy was amended to squeeze the GSM players of spectrum (and make new spectrum costlier). Why is it that with over 300 applications for new licenses and spectrum, Reliance got the nod first? We haven’t heard the last of this yet.