The Empowered Group of Ministers has directed the telecom department and the Ministry of Defence to look at the possibility of releasing additional spectrum for third generation mobile services.
The Ministers’ group, in its meeting held last week, wants at least 5 MHz of spectrum from the 2100 MHz band to be sold in the next round of auction.
This spectrum is already part of an agreement between DoT and the Defence Ministry.
In addition to this, 5 MHz chunk both the DoT and the Finance Ministry had asked the Ministry of Defence to swap an additional 15 MHz of 3G spectrum with same amount of airwaves in another band.
In a joint meeting between the two sides, representatives from the Defence Ministry gave a commitment that the proposal to swap spectrum bands will be taken up on priority.
The DoT also ceded ground on a number of issues. For example, in the 1800 MHz band, the initial plan was to auction all available spectrum. The Defence was against auctioning this band because it is using parts of it.
During the meeting, it was agreed that the DoT will go ahead with the auction but will keep out the part being used by the armed forces. This could, however, mean that telecom companies may not get contiguous spectrum in the next auction.