What is the significance of Videocon Telecommunications’ recent announcement that it would be using the recently won spectrum to offer 4G/LTE services in 2013?

Well, let’s first see how spectrum has historically been regarded. Spectrum has not only been a scarce resource; it’s been constrained too. It is also highly non-uniform across the world, with different countries using different frequencies for the same service, say a 2G or 3G.

Within the country too, the situation has not been particularly encouraging either. The spectrum blocks available for mobile services are in highly diverse and fragmented frequency bands such as 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, etc. Further, the historical approach to link certain frequencies to specific services like 2G and 3G and even for technologies like GSM and CDMA has kept the situation acutely challenging for the industry.

Even though it has, for long, been technologically feasible for telcos to use any of the frequencies allocated to them for providing any technology of their choice, the linking of spectrum with a service license never gave the service providers the freedom to use spectrum in the better possible ways.

Better late than never! The policy makers, licensors and regulators globally are finally beginning to grasp the futility of linking and limiting frequencies to specific services and technologies. India is going to be no exception to that.

Videocon’s announcement has got significance in this very backdrop. A ‘liberalized spectrum’ era is all set to dawn and stands to make service rollout issues a lot simpler for telcos.

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