Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said he will soon meet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to resolve the spectrum-related issues. Also Read - Airtel 5G Mumbai trials show download speeds of 1.2Gbps, upload at 850Mbps
“I propose to meet the Defence Minister shortly,” Prasad told reporters after his review meeting on spectrum availability and related issues. The minister reviewed the entire programme for spectrum auction and the status of guidelines on trading and sharing with senior officials. 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. Also Read - Vi prepaid recharge plans July 2021: List of all Vi recharge plans under Rs 500 with benefits, validity
The next round of spectrum auction is proposed to be held in February next year and the government is estimated to garner at least Rs 9,355 crore from sale of radiowaves. The Defence Ministry and the DoT had signed a pact in 2009-2010 under which the former had agreed to vacate 25 megahertz (MHz) of 3G spectrum and 20 MHz of 2G in phases. Also Read - Let our firms take part in 5G trials, China tells India
In return, the DoT had committed to setting up an exclusive defence network for its communication services. 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 5MHz in 2G — is to be vacated only after the alternate communication network is completed.
As per estimates, auction of spectrum in 2100 Mhz band in February can fetch bids worth Rs 5,000 crore for government. BSNL in July had issued a LoI for creating the exclusive alternate network for Defence. The work is expected to be completed in 18 months from the date of issue of LoI. Though TRAI had recommended auction of 2100 Mhz band along with the two other sets of bands, the Telecom Commission had decided that DoT should focus on auction of – 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz only, most of which are held by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications whose lincenses are expiring in 2015-16. The commission decided to send back suggestion back to TRAI for reconsidering some points.
TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar, however, had said at an event “we have not received the reference from DoT till yet”. DoT is also working on the possibility to get another chunk of 150 Mhz vacated from Defence in 1700-2000 MHz frequency that can be used commercial 3G and 4G services.