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"The spectrum planned by DoS (Department of Space) for strategic use is not to be shared with commercial applications as in the case of Devas Multimedia," P J Thomas had stressed in his capacity as the DoT secretary.
In his letter dated July 6, 2010, Thomas had also advocated a discussion on use of the scarce S-band spectrum with Indian Space Research Organisation in a special meeting attended by representatives of DoT, Department of Space, Information and Broadcasting Ministry, and Indian Meteorological Department.
Thomas had stressed that this spectrum is crucial to meeting the strategic requirements of nation and hence it should not be frittered away by giving it to the private parties and that too not without following the process of auction to maximise the government revenue.
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In his letter, a copy of which is available with this correspondent, Thomas had also cited the auction of the 20 MHz broadband wireless in the frequency band of 2300 MHz that fetched Rs 12,847 crore (Rs 128.47 billion) and stressed that "commensurate amount must be levied as spectrum charges for providing any commercial services, including digital multimedia."
"As regards regulatory issues such as level-playing field spectrum charges and permission from MIB (the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) for providing broadcast services by private entity may be discussed separately under the aegis of the Telecom Regularity Authority of India," the then DoT secretary wrote.
Antrix had entered into an agreement with Devas Multimedia in 2005 to allow it the use of part of the frequency bands 2555-2635 MHz, 2500-2535 and 2635 MHz, while 2500 frequency band is identified for the meteorological services taking into account the worldwide use of this band for terrestrial fixed and mobile services, Thomas stressed.
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"As regards use of the part of the frequency band 2555 MHz for complementary terrestrial component of Digital Multimedia applications, it may be mentioned that as on date only FM radio has been privatised by the MIB and as such views of MIB in this regards is required to be obtained in order to maintain the level-playing field.
"Further if wireless terrestrial satellite services is to be provided under any licences, a separate Wireless Operating Licence is required to be obtained from WPC (Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing).
Also, the compatibility in the adjacent band with other services is required to be ensured before implementing the proposed services."
The letter of Thomas also refers to the August 29, 2007 Trai recommendations of on the review of the licence terms and conditions and capping of number of access services providers and that spectrum other than the band 800800 and 1900 should be auctioned.