Mind the Gaps: Remote Area Marketing in India

US tech majors such as Microsoft and Facebook are planning to provide Internet services to India's more remote areas. What's the market there for them that they plan to capture?

Times of India reports that telecom operators are up in arms against a Microsoft plan to take Internet to the country's far-flung villages by leveraging tiny gaps left unused between television broadcast frequencies. These companies aren't against the technology or Microsoft's entry into the space per se, industry executives said. Their problem is with the possibility of the US major getting free or exclusive access to this spectrum, called white spaces, which they said is a valuable national asset that telecom operators are also interested in.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents companies such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, is set to shortly write to telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, telecom secretary Rakesh Garg and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman RS Sharma demanding an auction of the spectrum, instead of allocating it to one company, two people with knowledge of the association's plans said.


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