Telecom Dept blinks, agrees to take 150 MHz spectrum from Defence

| | Updated on: Nov 12, 2014
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Issue hanging fire since 2009; DoT to create a band for exclusive use by armed forces

The Department of Telecom and the Ministry of Defence have finally agreed on the contours of how spectrum will be earmarked for use by the armed forces and mobile operators.

The issue has been hanging fire since 2009 as a result of which the Defence forces had put on hold all fresh allocation of spectrum for mobile services. The new deal has been done keeping in mind the interest of the Defence forces more than that of the mobile players.

For example, one of the sticking points was the amount of spectrum to be vacated by the Defence between the 1700 MHz band and the 2000 MHz band, considered to be the ideal frequency bands for mobile operations.

While the DoT had been insisting on getting at least 230 MHz between these frequency bands, it has managed to get only 150 MHz, which was what the Defence had agreed to release initially.

The DoT has moved a note seeking the Cabinet’s approval for creating an exclusive Defence Band for use by the armed forces. The spectrum usage charges have also been waived for this, which if collected would have resulted in additional revenues of ₹47,000 crore a year to the Government.

However, this can partly be made up by the DoT when it puts the newly acquired 150 MHz spectrum for sale. But it could take some time before this spectrum gets freed; it may be available for auction only in the latter half of next year.

Published on November 12, 2014

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