2-year delay has cost India $ 16 billion, says GSM Association
The allocation of the 2.1 GHZ spectrum is a matter of urgency if third generation mobile broadband services are to become a reality in India, feels the GSM Association, which represents the interests of 750 plus mobile operators in in over 200 countries. Quoting a recently commissioned report by the London-based analysts LECG *, GSMA's Senior Director, Services, Jaikishan Rajaraman told a media round table in Bangalore, June 6, that the delay of about two years in allocating spectrum for 3G services has already cost the nation the equivalent of $ 16 billion in gross domestic product (GDP). When the 3G subscriber base reaches a level of 100 million the economic benefits alone will amount to the equivalent of $ 80 per annum per head, the report says elsewhere.
"India is ready for mobile broadband can can reach this number ( 100 m) by 2015", Mr Rajaraman said -- but this will require that licenses to operators must be issued before the end of the year, he added. While urging the allocation of the 2.1 GHz spectrum, he also cautioned that the planned distribution of the spectrum at 5 MHz per circle might run out in the very first year itself -- which is why the GSMA is suggesting that additional spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band and then in the 698-806 MHz band that is likely to be released when ever India shifts from analog to digital TV should also be earmarked.
Sridhar Pai, CEO of Tonse Telecom, a leader in Telecom Intelligence, who took part in the roundtable, suggested that Indian operators might be inclined to harness any 3G bandwdth they can get to enhance their 2G customer network before they roll out true broadband services.
India's first trials in 3G(High Speed Packet Access or HSPA) services have already been carried out successfully by Ericsson in 12 villages around Chennai under the Gram Jyothi programme ( http://hspa.gsmworld.com/upload/papers/documents/26052009105212.pdf )
Other countries in the region have upgraded their mobile services into broadband at phenomenal speed: the Sri Lanka network has grown 407 percent in two years, the one in Indonesia has grown at 656 percent, GSMA statistics reveal. India whose current broadband penetration is less than 5 percent will reap rich rewards by going the 3G/broadband way, Mr Rajaraman said... a ten percent increase in broadband penetration can deliver a GDP increase of anything from 0.1 to 1.4 percent.
Over 236 commercial nets in104 countries are poised to serve 2 billion users by 2014. Will the next new broadband networks come from India. Not if but when and how soon -- that's the GSMA's take on the scenario here -- with a subtext which says 3G is the best of the current competing technologies to make it happen.
The full LECG report can be found here:
( Anand Parthasarathy in Bangalore June 8)