New Delhi: GSM operators' body COAI on Wednesday said the regulator TRAI conducted no proper consultation with all stakeholders regarding spectrum refarming, under which existing players would have to give up airwaves in 900 MHz band when their permits come up for renewal in 2014.
The operators will be given the option to buy replacement airwaves in the less efficient 1800 MHz band.
"COAI reiterates that no proper consultation with the stakeholders has ever been carried out by the TRAI on the issues involved and the impact of re-farming, although TRAI acknowledges that it has significant impact on live networks, coverage and connectivity for hundreds of millions of mobile subscribers," COAI said in a statement.
"The GSM industry is aghast at the non-transparent manner in which the government is handling the issue," it said.
The body asked DoT and TRAI to examine the issues involved in re-farming in a holistic, transparent, comprehensive and consultative manner.
Citing a report by analyst Mason on TRAI’s recommendations on spectrum refarming, COAI said it will lead to increase in retail tariffs and loss of connectivity, thereby affecting both the consumers and the industry severely.
"The total impact on account of Capex, Opex, cost for deploying new towers and write-offs is estimated to be about Rs 1,15,500 crore," it said.
The body added that as a result, the national average tariffs are estimated to go up by as much as 64 paise/minute (30 paise due to re-farming alone and 34 paise from spectrum investments).