With the empowered Group of Ministers (e-GOM) finalising the reserve price for auctioning of 3G spectrum and paving the way for nationwide launch of next generation of mobile services, the Centre has decided to expedite the process of releasing spectrum from defence establishment.
Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar will hold a crucial meeting with the Telecom and Defence secretaries on September 11 and discuss the roadmap for the release of spectrum. It was in May this year that the Department of Telecommunications and Defence Ministry had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for release of spectrum, where the latter had agreed to release 25 Mhz of 3G spectrum and 20 Mhz of 2G spectrum for mobile operators.
The Defence Ministry had also agreed to immediately release 10 Mhz of spectrum for 3G and 5 Mhz for existing 2G cellular services to support their expansion, while the remaining share of radio waves would be released in phases.
Before the defence forces release spectrum, DoT has to install a dedicated optical fibre network for them. As this will take some time, defence forces would vacate spectrum in a phased manner so that its communication network does not get affected.
Spectrum from defence would make things comfortable for DoT, which is facing a scarcity of radio waves in some circles, particularly in border states such as Rajasthan. Before completing the 3G auction process in the next three months, DoT wants to have a clear picture of how much spectrum is actually available for mobile operators.