An empowered group of ministers (eGoM) has directed the department concerned to allocate the 700MHz band for the 4G services. The government plans to auction the band later this year.
“The information and broadcasting ministry will vacate 4G spectrum in the 700Mhz band, which is used for 4G and LTE services,” Union minister Kapil Sibal is quoted as saying after the meeting of the eGoM. It's learn't that the 700MHz band has become an subject of a dispute between the IB ministry and DoT, which repeatedly asked the former to vacate the band. The 700 MHz band is said to be in high demand among the operators as the band requires very few base stations and infrastructural support. Telcos normally are given higher frequency band such as 800, 900, 1,800, 2,100 MHz, that require more infrastructural back up.
Last week, Sibal had said that the 4G spectrum auctions will be held by the end of this year. “By the end of the year, we are actually going to auction 4G (spectrum). That is what our intent is. We have enough spectrum now to share with everybody,” he said.
It may be recalled that the DoT has already begun the process of next round of spectrum auction in broadband wireless space. The first round of auction was held in June 2010, where government had auctioned two slots of BWA spectrum, which fetched Rs. 38,000 crore. Reliance Industries, through Infotel Broadband, was then the only player to have taken a pan-India license.