Defence and Telecom ministries resolve 8 year long spectrum sharing issue

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india-telecom2014The swap formula for spectrum use between the Defence and Telecom ministry has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). Both the ministries have resolved the eight-year-long dispute of spectrum sharing between the defence and telecom sectors by earmarking bands for exclusive use of the former while also specifying use of remaining airwaves for civilian purposes such as telecom and civil aviation.

After the green signal from CCEA, Defence will now vacate 15 MHz spectrum in the 3G band in exchange for the same amount of spectrum in another frequency band. In return, the Defence ministry will be given an exclusive spectrum band.

The nine slots will be for the exclusive use of defence sector between 3 MHz and 40 gigahertz as informed by Ravi Shankar Prasad, telecom minister.

“The band in the 1700-2000 MHz is required to be harmonised. The Cabinet has approved that this harmony must be done within a period of one year,” he adds.

He also said that there are certain issues which more needed clarity.

Narendra Modi led CCEA also has approved regulations that will govern the defence interest Zone (DIZ), which refers to the 50 km area near the international border where the defence ministry and telecom department have been negotiating terms-of-use parameters during peace time and hostilities.”One of the major decisions taken today was that the defence needs on the borders of India has been recognised. Within 50 km of India’s border, we have demarcated as defence interest zone. In peace time the telecom operation that we will do we will intimate defence. That is the infrastructure,” Prasad said.

Under the understanding between two ministries, the spectrum will be in use for commercial purposes during peace time while during hostilities or war the spectrum will be transferred to the defence forces.

As per the deal, the Ministry of Communications and IT will swap 15 MHz of spectrum in the 1900 MHz band with the equivalent quantum of frequency airwaves in the 2100 MHz band, which is currently held by the defence forces. 31 slots are those where defence use has to coexist with another usage. Like space, broadcasting, civil aviation and others.

However, no decision on the reserve price of the 3G spectrum was taken.

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