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Cabinet allocates 31 spectrum bands for telecom and broadcasting

MUMBAI: The Union Cabinet has earmarked spectrum bands exclusively for defence use, thus ending the eight-year dispute over spectrum sharing with the defence ministry, while making available the remaining radio waves for commercial use in areas like telecom and broadcasting.

The Cabinet has earmarked nine bands out of the total of 49 bands for exclusive use by the defence ministry while 31 other bands have been allocated to telecom firms, broadcasters, civil aviation and space. A group has been formed to sort out issues between various user ministries for the remaining nine.

There will be swapping of spectrum once the bands are identified with users vacating the bands that have not been allocated to them.

“The issue which has been pending for the last eight years has been resolved today. Today the entire defence band has been identified,” said Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The Cabinet also approved swapping of 15 MHz of 3G spectrum between the defence and the telecom ministry which will be provided only after completion of the harmonisation process.

“The band in 1700 to 2000 MHz is required to be harmonised. The Cabinet has approved that this harmonisation is to be done in a period of one year,” Prasad said.

Prasad also said that the swapping of 15 MHz in the frequency band of 1900 MHz with telecom has been permitted; however, the swapping will take some time to happen.

The Cabinet has also asked ministries involved in the process to complete the harmonisation process within a year.