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‘Fixedline infrastructure can never deliver broadband across India’ says GSMA Director

Robindhra Mangtani
Director, GSMA
  TT Correspondent |  New Delhi | 25/06/2009

The second thing is you are part of the same community of services for 2G, GPRS, 3G, LTE and HSPA. The devices are at a price much lower than the WiMAX can give. I guess it is combination of those things. There is obviously a role for any technology, whether that is WiMAX or broadband wireless access or fixed wireline access. That’s why, whatever the consumer is willing to take, we have a strong product portfolio, price performance ratio and to provide mobility everywhere. And no other technology can provide mobility everywhere. So you can take your device from India, which is 3G, HSPA, LTE and you can take it anywhere in the world.

I am not disregarding or saying that any technology is bad but I believe that any technology has its role in meeting a user’s requirements. A consumer requires wireless access or broadband in a particular point and is happy to pay for that service and so are we. I am saying is that we have compelling advantages particular mobility, particular roaming, economy scale, price performance and I don’t it can be beaten. We can challenge anybody to find service that does all those things and that’s the advantage.

Q8) Recently the government has decided to increase the reserve price of spectrum to Rs. 4040 crore. Do you think the reserve price is too high with the operators facing financial meltdown?

Ans: It’s an interesting point. I would say that the reserve price of spectrum is set by whatever mechanism the government decides, it is not for us to challenge that. What we want to say is that the higher you set the prices for spectrum, the less likely is for mobile network operators to invest in infrastructure in order to meet your policy goals and objectives. So what I am saying is that, you have a pot of money, that pot of money has to meet whatever your objectives are. So if you take more of that money for spectrum, and for licensing conditions and tax, then you got lesser money left for infrastructure. And if your policy goal is to drive the infrastructure and to provide broadband everywhere, then you should try to keep the spectrum licenses and the price that you charge for spectrum low so that you can achieve those goals.

It all depends on what is the objective. If the objective is to maximize revenue for the government of India, that’s the objectives and you need to provide the reasons and state the reasons what the objectives are. If the objective is social policy goals and bridging the digital divide and providing broadband connectivity everywhere, then recognize that there is a role for government to play in making the mechanisms. One of the lead is to keep spectrum prices at a reasonable level. Nobody is saying it should be free but a reasonable so that the operators have the chance to invest and meet the policy goals.

Indian government knows what it is doing and I am sure there is enough research in that and which must give them a reason to go ahead in that direction.

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