The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has rolled out a strong pitch to the Group of Ministers (GoM) looking into the issue of release of wireless spectrum by the defence forces for commercial use.
DoT is holding up the carrot of a powerful optic fibre link (OFC) for defence use from December so the military authorities could be pushed to free up spectrum.
It is also telling the ministers that state agencies in the US, Canada, Germany and France have freed up spectrum for commercial use – a practice known as “spectrum farming.”
DoT said in a document prepared for a meeting with the GoM that the first phase of the OFC link for defence will be completed by December 2007, and authorities should release 15MHz (megahertz) of 2G spectrum and 20 MHz of 3G spectrum.
Earlier, the deadline for completing the first phase of the OFC link was September 2007. The department expects the second phase will be completed by March 2008 and says defence authorities should release an additional 25 MHz of 2G spectrum and 40MHz of 3G spectrum in line with that.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and DoT expect the OFC project will be completed around March 2009.
DoT has maintained that out of more than 3000 MHz of spectrum available with defence, some is being used inefficiently and use outdated technology.
DoT said licence fees, spectrum charges and service tax could fetch the government Rs. 45,000 to 50,000 crore in revenues by 2010, up from Rs. 25,000 crore in 2006-07.