No time frame for defence to vacate spectrum: Mukherjee

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New Delhi, Dec 11 (UNI) In a move that could further delay the allocation of spectrum, the government today said there was no fixed time frame for the Defence to vacate the spectrum.

''There is no specific time frame for the defence to vacate the spectrum,'' External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters on the sidelines of the second Sustainability Summit here.

DoT had demanded that spectrum should be vacated in a phased manner by the defence forces and had pointed out that since the alternate network for the Air Force (being built by BSNL and MTNL) would be completed by December 2007, the Air Force must, therefore, vacate the radio frequencies by the year-end.

Defence minister A K Antony, in a letter to the communications ministry, had said that the Air Force will vacate spectrum only when the alternative network for the other services are also in place.

The alternate network, which is based on optical fibre cable, will enable the three services to close their wireless links and thus release a substantial portion of the radio frequencies in the 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.

If the defence ministry refuses to change its stance, 3G services would be delayed until 2009.

India, which is one of the world's fastest growing telecoms market, is witnessing a paucity of spectrum, affecting expansion plans of telecom operators.

This brings in an urgency for vacation of spectrum by defence so as to finalise and announce guidelines for the introduction of 3G technology in the country as well as for additional spectrum for existing 2G services.

UNI

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