Spectrum interference by Pak affects 3G services

Thomas K. Thomas New Delhi | Updated on May 25, 2011


Services in Punjab and J&K hit; DoT to seek help of External Affairs Ministry

After cross-border terrorism, India now plans to take up another form of incursion with Pakistan – that of cross-border spectrum interference.

This comes after telecom companies complained to the Department of Telecom that consumers in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir were facing severe disruption while using third generation (3G) mobile services.

The disruption is on account of Pakistani operators offering limited mobility services in border areas using the same radio frequencies allocated to Indian telecom companies for 3G services.

Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Aircel have officially complained to the DoT that they are facing severe interference in 3G services.

The DoT will now urge the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the issue with its Pakistani counterpart.

Monitoring reports

“Wireless Monitoring Organisation carried out a detailed monitoring in the affected areas and confirmed the presence of interference and also located the source of interference emanating from Pakistani territory. Monitoring reports confirmed presence of down-link Wireless in Local Loop signals in Indian 3G up-link band. It is proposed to take up the matter with the MEA to sort out the issue on priority,” said a DoT source.

The DoT had allocated 1959-1979 Mhz frequency band for 3G services whereas Pakistani operators use 1960-1980 Mhz for WLL services. Although spectrum allocation is specific to each country, sometimes interference can be caused due to proximity.

“Spectrum is basically air waves and it can overflow from one area to another. The solution is to deploy technology that act as jammers to restrict use of frequency within a given territory,” said a market expert.

The DoT sources said the use of Indian airwaves by Pakistani operators in Indian territory may also lead to security issues. “We can't say if it's a conspiracy or it is being done intentionally. This has to be investigated further as a foreign country cannot be allowed to disrupt communication services in the country. They may also be snooping into the Indian operator's network this way,” said an operator.

At a global level, spectrum usage is determined by the International Telecommunication Union – a UN body. Government officials indicated that if the issue was not resolved bilaterally then India has the option to involve ITU.


Published on May 25, 2011

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