Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today agreed to work in “consent, coordination and synergy” to resolve spectrum related issues. Also Read - Airtel 5G Mumbai trials show download speeds of 1.2Gbps, upload at 850Mbps
“I had a very fruitful meeting with Defence minister and both of us agreed that while Defence’s need of spectrum for the country’s security is important, the growth of telecom as infrastructure sector is equally important. We need to work in consent, coordination and synergy,” Prasad told reporters after his first meeting with Parrikar on spectrum issue here. Also Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAI
Based on various recommendations and agreements, the DoT expects Defence ministry to clear about 165 Mhz of spectrum across frequency bands. Out of all bands, there is immediate demand for 3G spectrum in frequency band 2100 Mhz. Telecom regulator TRAI has recommended that spectrum in 2100 Mhz band, a part of which is with the Defence Ministry, should be put up for auction along with two sets of spectrum bands– 900Mhz and 1800Mhz in February next year. Also Read - Let our firms take part in 5G trials, China tells India
Earlier, the Defence Ministry had vacated 15 MHz of 3G spectrum which was auctioned in 2010. The Defence had also vacated 15 MHz of 2G spectrum, which was allocated to new operators. Under the agreement with DoT, the remaining spectrum — 10 MHz spectrum in 3G and 5 MHz in 2G — is to be vacated only after the alternate communication network is completed. BSNL is creating exclusive alternate network for the Defence. The PSU issued an LoI in July and work is expected to complete in 18 months from the date of issue of LoI.
DoT is also working on the possibility to get another chunk of 150 Mhz vacated from Defence in 1700-2000 MHz frequency band that can be used for commercial 3G and 4G services. Sources said that DoT has started working on auction of 3G spectrum in 17 out of 22 service areas. Prasad, however, did not share if 2100 Mhz band will be put on sale in the proposed auction.
The next round of spectrum auction is proposed to be held in February 2015 and the government is estimated to garner at least Rs 9,355 crore from sale of radiowaves. As per estimates, auction of spectrum in 2100 Mhz band in February can fetch bids worth Rs 5,000 crore.