EGoM decides to free 700 Mhz spectrum for 4G services
An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) today decided to allocate 700 Mhz spectrum for offering fourth-generation or 4G telecom services.
“There were about four issues which came up for resolution before the empowered committee and three of them have been resolved fully. Basically the issues were relating to the 700 Mhz band those have been resolved,” Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here.
This particular band (700 Mhz) is considered to be very efficient and could fetch the government revenues more than it got through auctioning of 3G spectrum last year.
According to officials in Department of Telecom, spectrum in 700 Mhz band require probably half the investment to roll out services compared to what was required for rolling out services in wireless broadband spectrum auctioned in 2010.
The I&B ministry has earlier placed its claim in this spectrum band saying that Doordarshan has 40 Mhz frequency assignment for mobile video link and 8 Mhz for digital transmission in four metros.
“The I&B has kindly agreed to vacate that band and that issue has been resolved,” Sibal said.
In other major issue on vacation of 1700 Mhz to 2000 Mhz spectrum band between Defence and Telecom Ministry, Sibal said that most of the matters related to it had been resolved and expressed hope that it will be completely resolved in next meeting of EGoM scheduled for the coming week.
“Then there were some issues relating to 1700 Mhz to 2000 Mhz band. We have had a full discussion and hopefully it will be resolved next week,” Sibal said.
In this case, Defence Ministry had shown interest to give DoT only 150 Mhz and retain the rest 150 Mhz while DoT has been pushing the Ministry to give it 230 MhZ and retain 70 MhZ in the civilian areas to operate sophisticated equipments but allot all 300 Mhz in the urban areas.
This spectrum can be used for 3G services, 4G services and it is a progressive band for CDMA technology as well.
As per the MoU signed between the two ministries, the Defence Ministry had agreed to vacate 25 MHz of 3G spectrum and 20 MHz of 2G in phases. In return, the DoT had committed to set up an exclusive defence band and defence interest zone for the armed forces.
The project, however, is stuck because of financial constraints. According to sources, the Planning Commission has approved Rs 800 crore for the project as against demand of Rs 6,767.94 crore by DoT which included Rs 5,000 crore earmarked for OFC based network for Defence services.
The EGoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was also attended by Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Information & Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni.