Defence Ministry has sought CDMA spectrum in 12 telecom circles for the Army’s communication purposes, a development which Telecom Ministry feels can lower the quantum available for auction to mobile operators by over 80 percent for such airwaves.The Ministry of Defence has sought CDMA spectrum in 12 telecom circles comprising 17 states. These states are Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and six north eastern states. “Spectrum is not available as per requirement of Army. Spectrum in some service area has been either assigned completely to telecom companies and partially in some service area. On assigning spectrum to Defence, as per their requirement, only 10 Mhz will left for auction,” an official source said. Also Read - 4G spectrum auction: Reliance Jio comes out as highest bidder, Airtel follows
Thus, it could lower the quantum available for auction to mobile operators by over 80 percent for such airwaves. The Department of Telecom has proposed to put 57.5 Mhz of CDMA spectrum for upcoming auction which is much lower compared to 286 Mhz of GSM spectrum. The CDMA spectrum is used by Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Quadrant Televentures for mobile telephony. Also Read - Telecom spectrum auctions begin today: Here's all you need to know
CDMA spectrum to defence as desired by them can be allocated only in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North East telecom circles only, the source said. “Defence wants contiguous block of spectrum which is not available across many circles. It can be allocated in Assam and North East only. In J&K, Department of Telecom can give them two blocks of spectrum but they will not be contiguous,” the source said. Also Read - Vodafone CEO Nick Read to visit India this week; will seek bailout: Report
Contiguous block of spectrum can be utilised like a thick pipe from which data can flow at high speed. In a secretary level discussion held in September last year, the DoT was asked to work on the requirement of Defence on priority basis. Meanwhile, after its successful use during the floods in Kashmir this year, Mobile Cellular Communication System (MCCS) of the Army that offers greater security and reliability will now be expanded to other parts of the country.
MCCS is a CDMA-based system and offers more secrecy, besides better protection against hacking. The government has given its nod to about Rs 900 crore for MCCS to be set up in three more Corps of the Army and sources indicate that the focus would be Northeast. The approximate cost of setting up the system in each Corp is about Rs 200-250 crore, but the amount can go up depending on the geography of the area.