DoT, Ministry of I&B spar over spectrum

Ministry of I&B claimed that the spectrum in 700 Mhz is reserved for public broadcaster Door Darshan (DD), while the Ministry of Communication and IT has denied such claims saying the spectrum was required for expansion of mobile (IMT) and broadband wireless services (BWA).

This particular band (700 Mhz) is considered to be very efficient and could fetch the government revenues more than it got through auctioning of 3G spectrum last year.
According to officials, spectrum in 700 Mhz band can entail minimum investment in infrastructure by the telecom firms.

"In 700 Mhz frequency band, spectrum was earmarked for them but never allocated. There is process for spectrum allocation. An organisation needs to obtain wireless operating license(WOL) to use spectrum and frequently renew it. Doordarshan never did it," officials in the DoT said.

The officials added that an organisation can claim over spectrum only after it has obtained WOL. As per the current provision, WOL has to be renewed at regular intervals which is generally done on annual basis.

According to the officials, DD never obtained WOL for spectrum in 700 Mhz frequency band and hence its claim on this band does not stand.

The I&B ministry in its recent communication to DoT has said that DD has 40 Mhz frequency assignment for mobile video link and 8 Mhz for digital transmission in four metros.

The ministry is working on policy for mobile TV. It has received recommendation from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in 2008 on mobile Tv services but cited non-availability of adequate spectrum for delay in policy formation.

It (Ministry of I&B) has asked for 96 Mhz of spectrum in UHF band 5 to start mobile TV service which is between 582 to 806 Mhz frequency. It has cited that UHF Band 5 is for broadcasting services.

The DoT official, however, clarified that National Frequency Allocation Plan 2008 clearly mentioned that Broadcast, IMT and Fixed services as primary service in this band.
"Requirement of Doordarshan and mobile TV service can be met in UHF Band 5. We are asking the ministry to take spectrum below 698 Mhz else we will not be able to place needs of IMT and BWA service any where in this band," he said.

The frequency band of 700 Mhz is in high demand by players in broadcast and mobile industry.

Any service deployed in this frequency band will need less number of base stations to deliver service as that being delivered in higher frequency band of 800,900,1800 and 2100 Mhz.

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