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Decision on spectrum soon: minister

business Updated: Dec 11, 2007 20:24 IST
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External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said a group of ministers (GoM) headed by him would soon take a call on releasing the much-awaited radio frequencies held by the defence ministry.

"No time frame has been set... as you know there are some court cases coming up either tomorrow or very soon. This is engaging our attention and we will take a decision as soon as possible," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Sustainability Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here.

The department of telecommunications (DoT) is awaiting the release of 25 MHz of frequencies or spectrum from the armed forces.

Currently, the Indian telecommunications industry is divided into two groups over the issue.

On one hand, operators who provide services under the GSM technology demand that they should be given the scarce resource first for rolling out their services into the country's hinterlands.

On the other, CDMA technology of mobile telephony operators is fighting for equal treatment at par with the GSM players.

In its latest recommendation last week, the DoT said GSM players would get 10 MHz of spectrum and CDMA 5 MHz.

Currently, two sets of norms are being debated regarding how the spectrum would be allocated - one that has been recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the other suggested by the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) of the DoT.

GSM lobby Cellular Operator's Association of India (COAI) has questioned the terms of reference of the panel, saying the committee was formed to review the subscriber base-linked criteria that exist now and not the one recommended by TEC or TRAI.

COAI had filed a petition on the issue, which is expected to come up in the telecommunications tribunal Wednesday.