The department of telecommunications (DoT) has prepared a road map for the release of 3G spectrum. This means the defence ministry needs to vacate 25 MHz by the end of December 2006, and another 35 MHz by 2007-end.
3G mobile services enable high-speed Internet access using different wavelengths, and allow operators to offer mobile broadband services like video-and audio-streaming, among other things.
The road map, if implemented, would mean that there will be not enough 3G spectrum for the eight pan-Indian mobile telecom operators by the end of this year. Telcos require a minimum of 5 MHz each to run 3G operations.
As a consequence only five of the eight mobile operators across the country will be able to operate 3G services by the year-end. The main mobile operators include Bharti, Hutchison-Essar, Idea Cellular, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tatas, Spice Telecom, and Aircel-Maxis.Spectrum of 5 Mhz is enough to support over 3-4 million 3G customers per operator, with heavy data applications.
Although at present most of the 3G spectrum bands are being consumed by the defence ministry for its own equipment, , it has agreed to vacate them in phases, for which it requires new electronic equipment. This equipment is expected to cost over Rs 1,000 crore.