As a result of utter negligence on the part of the Indian government, subscribers of major mobile companies in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata may be seen suffering from network disruptions and outages in the months to come. This issue stems directly from the delayed allotment of spectrum by the country’s Department of Telecom (DoT).
For those not in the loop, an auction of airwaves had taken place this February, and despite the fact that eight months have passed since then, the spectrum has been allotted to the winning parties only now. Telecom brands like Airtel and Vodafone moreover, face several of their important licenses in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata expiring this month.
Vodafone had earlier revealed that it had completed all the required payments in March itself, and the allocation still took too long to happen. The big argument is that it takes at least six months to smoothly transition the network from old spectrum to the newly allocated one.
With just one month left for Vodafone and Airtel to make this move, they are seeking an extension of at least six more months on their current licenses to complete the process. If they are granted the additional time, consumers can breathe easy. But if they aren’t, disruptions and network outages are something they’ll need to be ready for.
Regarding the process of shifting frequencies, an industry official has revealed to The Times of India that a large amount of groundwork needs to be done. This involves new tower locations, antennae tuning, network configuration and more.
The six-month extension that is being sought by telecom companies like Airtel and Vodafone, has received the support of their union body, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) as well.