Plans to free spectrum to be drawn up soon

Mumbai, Jan 22 | Updated: Jan 23 2007, 07:44am hrs
The group of ministers (GoM) on spectrum would be shortly holding its first meeting to draw up the vacation plan for spectrum from government and semi-government agencies, defence, space, para military, etc.

Department of telecommunications (DoT) secretary, D S Mathur told FE that the government was already working on releasing additional spectrum of 45 Mhz and the GoMs roadmap would deal with additional release of spectrum. The exact quantum that would be vacated would be known thereafter.

However, according to the planning commissions blueprint, over and above the 45 Mhz, 75 Mhz spectrum need to be vacated. The GoM comprises external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister A K Antony, home minister Shivraj Patil, finance minister P Chidambaram, information and broadcasting minister Priyaranjandas Munsi, communications and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran, and deputy chairman, planning commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Mathur also said the DoT committee formed to look into the 3G spectrum pricing and allocation recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), would submit its report in a weeks time and the DoT would then finalise the policy on 3G spectrum.

BAND WAGON

Government is working on releasing additional spectrum of 45 Mhz
The exact quantum that will be vacated will be known once the GoMs roadmap is ready
The GoM comprises ministers of external affairs, defence, home, finance, I&B, and IT

He said as of now, it was not clear whether the Trai suggested reserve price plus auction methodology would be adopted or a revenue-share mechanism would be followed. Mathur said in case a different approach than suggested by Trai was adopted, the government may once again refer the matter to Trai for finalising the details. Of the 45 Mhz spectrum to be made available, 25 Mhz is in 2.1 Ghz band for 3G services and balance 20 Mhz is in the 1800 Mhz band for 2G services. As reported by FE , the 25 Mhz for 3G services is available and does not need any vacation by the defence forces.

The DoT can allocate it as soon as the policy on 3G spectrum is ready.