The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has called on the country’s government to allow operators to use as much as 450MHz of unused spectrum held by 13 government agencies, including the armed forces and police.
Given the limited spectrum available to operators, COAI director general Ranjan Mathews has urged the Department of Telecom (DoT) to work out a roadmap for freeing up the unused frequencies, the Economic Times reported. He said mobile players in India only have 12-15MHz of spectrum each compared to the international average of 45-50MHz.
He noted that the country’s operators are adding five million new subscribers each month, which is putting pressure on their existing infrastructure.
India, with a population of 1.3 billion, is forecast to have 1.4 billion mobile connections by 2020, when mobile penetration will reach 100 per cent, according to Ericsson’s most recent mobility report.
The country currently has 970 million mobile connections, with about 80 per cent of these on 2G networks.
India was the fastest growing mobile market in the world in Q1, the report stated, with 26 million net additions.