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DoS not to part with extra airwaves for 3G, retains bare minimum news
21 August 2009

New Delhi: A nine member empowered group of ministers (GoM) panel, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, has been informed by G Madhavan Nair, secretary, department of space (DoS) as well as chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), that no further airwaves would be spared for WiMax services over and above what has already been given away. The EGoM was constituted to settle all outstanding issues associated with the auction of third-generation (3G) airwaves, which has become a contentious issue.

The DoS has already parted with 40 MHz of airwaves for WiMax services in the 2.5 GHz band. The ministry of defence has recently agreed to part with a huge chunk of its share for auction in the private market.

Dr Nair informed the GoM that interference from the WiMax services offered in this band in the future could ''severely affect the very sensitive satellite services in the adjacent band.''

The GoM will have the final say on the reserve price for 3G and WiMax spectrums, as well as on the number of players to be allowed to offer these high-end services in every circle.

WiMax is a telecom technology that allows the user to access high speed internet and other data applications through airwaves. WiMAX offers data speeds that are 10-30 times faster than 3G, which in turn offer data speeds five times quicker than those offered by 2G cellular services.

Nair pointed out that after parting with 40 MHz of airwaves in the 2.5 GHz band, the DoS was left with only 150 MHz of airwaves in this band, the bare minimum required for satellite services. He also pointed out that this band was of strategic importance to the country as it was largely used for meeting strategic communication needs by defence services, Indian railways and Safety of Life Services.

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DoS not to part with extra airwaves for 3G, retains bare minimum