Vacation of defence spectrum for civilian use unlikely (Lead)

September 24th, 2008 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) Prospects of allocation of fresh spectrum from the defence sector for second-generation (2G) services appear bleak, according to a senior government official.”Defence does not have much spectrum and it is very difficult for it to vacate this in the near future,” the official from the telecommunication ministry said Wednesday, requesting anonymity.

The 1,800 MHz and 900 MHz bandwidth are full currently and no spectrum can be expected in this, he said, adding: “The Delhi and Mumbai circles are already saturated.”

“We got spectrum for south India and we gave it to them (telecom operators). As and when we get fresh spectrum, we will allocate it.”

However, Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja told IANS his ministry is in talks with the defence ministry for release of spectrum from the armed forces for civilian communication use.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) expects defence to release at least 25-30 MHz of spectrum for 3G services; it had originally demanded the defence ministry to release 45 MHz.

The defence ministry wants an alternate network for its three armed forces to release 45 MHz of spectrum for 2G and 3G (third generation) services.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), the state-owned telecom operator that is preparing an alternate network for the army and navy so that it could vacate the spectrum, would have to spend Rs.40 billion (Rs.4,000 crore) on the project.

The DoT has already expressed reservation over this huge spending to get only 2.5 MHz of spectrum from the armed forces.

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