Barcelona: The Communications Ministry is hopeful of soon hearing from the Ministry of Defence on release of spectrum for allocation to new operators, some of whom are waiting since December 2006.
“We are in touch with the Ministry of Defence... as soon as adequate spectrum is vacated we shall simultaneously distribute to new players,” Telecom Secretary Sidharth Behura told the news agency on the sidelines of GSM World Congress here.
Asked how much spectrum was expected to be vacated by the Ministry of Defence and how many players would be accommodated, Behura said “we shall try to accommodate all of them.
“...But one thing is very clear that we are not going to starve the defence from spectrum they are using, so whatever can be vacated without hurting their operations we will get,” he said.
He also indicated that if extra spectrum was available after meeting the demands of applicants till 25 September 2007, then firms who applied after 25 September would be considered.
In all, nine firms that applied till 25 September have been allotted Letters of Intent (LoIs).
The companies include Shyam Telelink, Unitech Developers, Datacom, Swan Telecom, along with Tata Teleservices under the clause of dual technology.
About the project cost to meet Ministry of Defence’s requirement to vacate spectrum, Behura said state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has been working very fast to complete the project. Already Rs260 crore have been spent and in total about Rs500 crore would be invested.
This would take care of the Air Force segment, while army and navy are yet to firm up their plans, officials said, adding that as and when they convey their plans, BSNL would implement them at the earliest.
Asked whether by month end the new players would be getting spectrum, Behura said a definitive reply can be given only after hearing from the Ministry of Defence.