New Delhi: Tata Teleservices Ltd, India's sixth-biggest cellular carrier by customers, said it will surrender part of its CDMA mobile airwaves in all but two of its zones, after the government asked carriers to pay surcharges on airwaves. Tata Tele, 26 per cent owned by Japan's NTT DoCoMo, said it has informed the telecommunications ministry that it will give up CDMA airwaves beyond 2.5 megahertz in 15 service areas, but retain 3.75 megahertz in the Delhi and Mumbai cities.
"The company stands committed to ensuring that this will not adversely affect network or service quality and is looking to deploy additional capex to offset the reduced spectrum availability," the company said in a statement. It was not immediately known how much Tata Tele, which was required to pay more than $200 million in surcharges, would save by returning part of the airwaves. Tata Tele operates two separate networks based on the GSM and CDMA technology.
India has imposed surcharges totalling more than $4 billion on long-established carriers, after an overhaul in the country's airwave sale process, a move which carriers have challenged in courts and its execution has been halted. Carriers operating on the popular GSM technology are required to pay surcharges on their airwave holding exceeding 4.4 megahertz, while for CDMA-based carriers the surcharges are imposed on holding beyond 2.5 megahertz. Those companies who do not want to pay the surcharges have the option to give back the airwaves to the government.