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Defence should free up a total 662 MHz of airwaves in different spectrum bands: ASSOCHAM

However, the utilization, if at all, of these bands by Defence, is limited only to selected locations within a service area.

July 22, 2014 8:59 IST | India Infoline News Service
ASSOCHAM has suggested the Defence Ministry to release spectrum for commercial use minimum quantity of 112 MHz out of 500 MHz (900 MHz band type), 135 Mhz from 1650 MHz (1800 MHz band type) and 415 Mhz from 1320 MHz (2100 MHz band type) with a view to achieve India’s mobile broadband objectives.

In a representation, ASSOCHAM has stated if the suggested spectrum was put to auction, quite apart from huge consumer benefits and fillip to  broadband and economic growth, even at the reserve price of earlier auctions, the total auction collections will easily exceed  budgetary estimates, which otherwise appear stretched.

The unlocking of the proposed spectrum for mobile broadband has the potential of closing fiscal deficit by 0.4% for the current fiscal, and by recurring sums over the next 19 years, and providing an enduring uptick to the national GDP of between 0.6% and 1.2%. 

The Chamber has pointed out that large swathes of mainstream commercial spectrum bands with developed eco-systems, which are fertile for immediate expansion of mobile broadband are currently being occupied by Defence. 

However, the utilization, if at all, of these bands by Defence, is limited only to selected locations within a service area. 

Further, the assignments to Defence within these spectrum bands have been done in a manner which has divided the rest of the band into small chunks, rendering much of such spectrum unusable for 3G and 4G services which require contiguous allocations.

ASSOCHAM believes, the spectrum left unutilized is the most inefficient use of this natural resource. It is also an equally well known fact that telecom penetration has a multiplier effect on GDP growth. In a recent study, the World Bank has estimated that in low and middle income countries every 10% increase in broadband penetration accelerates economic growth by 1.38%.

Even an India-specific study on the socio-economic impact of telecommunications by ICRIER concluded that there is a significant positive correlation between increase in mobile penetration and growth in State Domestic Product (SDP) – with 10% increase in mobile penetration, SDP rises by 1.2%.

Therefore, it is imperative that this valuable national resource of spectrum is harnessed and put to the best possible use at the earliest to deliver on the mobile broadband objective of the government.

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