The recent Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations on spectrum are not in line with international best practices, particularly as the government proposes to auction part of the available spectrum by end of August, and at an extraordinarily high price, according to GSMA, the global association of GSM operators in the world.
''While this (auction) may bring some additional money to the treasury in the short-term, it will stifle future investment and put at risk the promise of ''Broadband for All'', the body said in a statement.
India was recently predicted to be the second largest-mobile broadband market in the world by 2016, a prospect which is now in jeopardy, it said, adding, spectrum, the radio waves upon which mobile operators depend, is the oxygen that gives life to mobile services.
Mobile already drives 3.6 per cent of India's GDP and creates, directly or indirectly, as many as 10 million jobs. However, there is still more to do, and government policy will play a key role in future progress, it said.
''We will only be able to connect everyone, including the 320 million mobile subscribers living in rural communities, to mobile broadband if the government makes significant, additional spectrum available to operators, without delay and at a fair price,'' it added.
The Indian market has been starved of spectrum for many years. TRAI's recommendations, especially on 'refarming', will increase further this scarcity and negatively impact both the quality and availability of mobile services, particularly in rural areas, leading to significantly higher prices for consumers.