Assocham Asks Defence Ministry to Free Spectrum for Telecom Sector

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Assocham Asks Defence Ministry to Free Spectrum for Telecom Sector
Industry chamber Assocham on Monday said it has asked the Defence Ministry to release about 650MHz of spectrum for telecom services to help meet the country's objective of expanding broadband services.

"Assocham has suggested the Defence Ministry to release spectrum for commercial use minimum quantity of 112MHz out of 500MHz (900MHz band type), 135MHz from 1650MHz (1800MHz band type) and 415MHz from 1320MHz (2100MHz band type) with a view to achieve India's mobile broadband objectives," Assocham said in a statement.

It said that in a representation, the industry chamber has stated if the suggested spectrum was put to auction even at the reserve price of earlier auctions, the total auction collections will easily exceed budgetary estimates.

"The unlocking of the proposed spectrum for mobile broadband has the potential of closing fiscal deficit by 0.4 percent 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 percent and 1.2 percent," the statement said.

The chamber said that large swathes of mainstream commercial spectrum bands with developed eco-systems are currently being occupied by Defence whose utilization is limited only to selected locations within a service area by Defence.

"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," the statement said.

Assocham said it is also an equally well known fact that telecom penetration has a multiplier effect on GDP growth. It cited a study by research firm ICRIER which concluded that with 10 percent increase in mobile penetration, state domestic product in India rises by 1.2 percent.

"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," the statement said.
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