The industry estimates India would need an additional capital outlay of Rs 3-5 lakh crore over the next 10 years in spectrum, new technology, equipment, towers, optical fibre backbone, etc, to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Digital India and connect 1 billion Indians.
The GSM subscriber base stood at 69.70 crore at the end of February. COAI, which represents telecom players like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Aircel said the data does not include GSM subscriber number of Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices. It has also stopped reporting the GSM numbers of state-run BSNL.
Ideal Cellular, which provides mobile services using GSM technology, bid a maximum of Rs 30,306.98 crore to buy spectrum in the 900 megahertz, 1800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands.
"All India GSM cellular subscriber figures as of February 2015 stood at 69.70 crore. The subscribers increased by 95.94 lakh in February, (1.40 percent increase from previous month," COAI said in a statement.
The new GSMA report forecast that the number of unique mobile subscribers will increase from 3.6 billion at the end of 2014 to 4.6 billion by 2020, increasing by four percent per year over this period.
Both companies will work together for understanding and sharing testing and validation practices including network equipment, features and new releases etc, and will also jointly conduct proof of concepts as well as trials.
The rural subscriber base stood at 307.54 million at the end of September, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said.
"If the proposed spectrum auction to be held in February 2015 is conducted with completely inadequate spectrum, it will put investments of thousands of crores or rupee and continuity of service to millions of customers at huge risk," COAI said in a letter to Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister.
The regulator on February 22 recommended a base price of Rs 2,685 crore per megahertz for CDMA airwaves which, AUSPI said, is 47 percent higher than the minimum price earlierapproved by the Empowered Group of Ministers on Telecom, and 80 percent higher than the base price of 1800 Mhz - generally known as 2G spectrum.
The government had received Rs 30,754 crore of bids for the 1800 MHz band and bids totalling Rs 21,935 crore for the 900 MHz band at the end of the fourth day.
The other five applicants include Vodafone, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, RJIL and Telewings (Uninor). In the last round of auction held in March 2013, none of the GSM operators had bid for radiowaves, citing high reserve or base price.
The spectrum usage charge is levied annually as a percentage of revenue earned by telecom companies from telecom services. It varies between 3 to 8 percent.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has written a letter to the Department of Telecom asking it to reduce performance bank guarantee (PBG) substantially to Rs 14 crore for each non-metro service area, and Rs 7 crore for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata service areas.
The uniform SUC, if implemented as per recommendations made by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, will provide relief for mobile operators such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, but will increase rates for broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum holders like RJIL.
The spectrum usage charge, which is levied annually by government as percentage of revenue earned by telecom companies from telecom services, varies between 3 to 8 per cent in case of mobile operators.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had in September proposed a cut of up to 60 percent in the minimum auction prices for mobile phone spectrum used by GSM technology players like Airtel and Vodafone, but recommended no auction of 800 MHz spectrum used by CDMA players.
Earlier this month, MF Farooqui, secretary, DoT, had written to TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar seeking clarifications and reconsideration of some of recommendations provided by the regulator in September this year.
GSM based mobile service providers jointly added over 44 lakh new customers, taking their cumulative customer base to 67.88 crore in September, according to data released by industry body COAI today.
According to details on the company's website, it will charge base rate of two paise per second for mobile-to-mobile calls. The base rate, or the headline tariff, applies to customers not covered under any special scheme offered by their telecom operator.
RCom is also betting on more network-sharing deals with Reliance Industries, controlled by Anil Ambani's older brother, Mukesh, India's richest man, which is readying a nationwide 4G network, after a pact to lease out its inter-city fibre optics network.
Anil Dhirubhai Ambani's flagship company Reliance Communications said it would use CDMA spectrum for providing wireless Internet services to increase revenues.
Reliance Communications on Tuesday said it has partnered with Twitter to launch a prepaid plan for GSM subscribers in the country. The promotional offer will be free for 90 days after which a fee will be charged for the plan.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm today slammed the GSM operators body, COAI. In a letter to the DoT the company sought early implementation of the decision to permit internet service providers with BWA spectrum to migrate to the unified license regime.
The Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram is scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss the third round of spectrum auction.
In what is a major blow to the government's 2G auction plans, there are no takers for the 900 MHZ GSM spectrum in the upcoming auctions in March as Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea have decided not to participate.