Defence Ministry-DoT likely to thrash out spectrum issue

Defence Ministry-DoT likely to thrash out spectrum issue

New Delhi: National Security Advisor M K Narayanan has asked both Ministry of Defence and Department of Telecom (DoT) to set up an expert group to come out with an agreed course of action on time-lines and quantum of spectrum, among others.

DoT sources said that it was one and half years since the defence ministry was asked to vacate the spectrum, and so far even the quantum of spectrum to be released had not been decided jointly.

A senior executive of a GSM operator said that the whole exercise shows tardy pace of progress and disagreement over a host of issues.

NSA, after a series of meetings with Signal Officer-in-Chief Army Headquarters and Wireless Advisor, has decided that both should constitute a joint group of experts to chalk out an action plan within 15 days.

The expert group should see to it that both ministries formally indicate the quantum of spectrum to be released by the defence ministry and also the time—lines for the rollout of a secure and dedicated OFC network for the armed forces.

The time-frame should be incorporated in an MoU, which should be ready in 15 days for signing, defence ministry said in a letter to Telecom Secretary Sidhharth Behura.

Public sector BSNL is setting up this OFC network and is likely to complete the work early next year. NSA wants the group to facilitate release of 5+5 MHz of spectrum by the armed forces after signing this MoU, the letter said.

The situation can be gauged from the internal note of DoT that there is no or very less radio frequency in nine circles — including Delhi — as the defence ministry is yet to vacate this scarce natural resource for 3G services.