More reports on: Government policies

Telecom, I&B ministries agree to use over 200 MHz spectrum for mobile services

30 November 2015

The ministries of telecom and information and broadcasting have agreed to use over 200 MHz spectrum meant for broadcasting services, the majority of which was with Doordarshan, for advance mobile services.

"Doordarshan may not need entire spectrum between 470-698 MHz. Once ITU decides it to be allocated for mobile services in the Asian region, DoT will pitch for it to be deployed for wireless broadband services," PTI quoted an official source as saying.

"India has already represented at World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) through DoT to get this band for mobile services," the official added.

According to the official, the I&B and telecom ministries had aligned to use this spectrum band for mobile services.

"This is the first time both ministries smoothly agreed on spectrum. The decision was conveyed to the delegation in ITU on November 24. If we are firm on this band for mobile services now, the ecosystem will take around 5-8 years to develop," the official said.

The proceeds of the auction of spectrum, early this year, of 380 MHz of airwaves across various bands, fetched government bids worth Rs110,000 crore.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a body under the UN, coordinated with countries for allocating spectrum to various technologies.

However, the usage of this spectrum could not be approved by the ITU for advance mobile services due to objection raised by Iran over interference in services from Pakistan.

Pakistan, too was opposed to its use in India, a member of the India delegation, who did not wish to be named, said.

A substantial part of the spectrum in 450 MHz band in India was marked for broadcast services, including over 100 MHz spectrum between 585 MHz-698 MHz. Part of this was also in use by other government agencies.

Doordarshan had vacated 700 MHz band spectrum, which the government was planning to auction.

According to commentators, the move held the potential for supporting a boom in machine-to-machine communication like real-time surveillance using wireless video camera and transmission of health record automatically to hospitals.

"At WRC, India supported inclusion of 470-698 MHz for international mobile telecommunications (IMT) service area. It is a good step forward, especially for broadband coverage in rural areas," COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said.

"Now, the world knows India's stand. We will see companies approaching us for developing its ecosystem here."

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