Less spectrum for WiMax services

Less spectrum for WiMax services

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 25 August 2009, 05:19 Hrs
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Bangalore: The government is yet to decide on a policy on 3G spectrum, but the Department of Space (DoS) has already started creating problems, as the quantum of spectrum for broadband wireless access (WiMax) services that is put up for auction could get reduced.

Currently, an empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) on 3G spectrum and broadband wireless access (BWA) is to give its verdict on the number of slots and the reserve price to be paid by operators for participating in the auctions. The group comprises nine ministers including Communications and IT Minister A Raja, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, and is chaired by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The group is scheduled to meet on August 27 to take a call on reserve price and the number of slots to be auctioned for 3G spectrum and BWA.

The Department of Space has written a note to the eGoM, pointing out that before the auction process, the technical characteristics of the WiMax system and the equipment should be specified in such a way that it doesn't interfere with the strategic communication of defence and space. This technical requirement might reduce the number of BWA slots, but it is essential for the security, defence and space needs of the country.

"The S band satellite services are of great importance to India and are used largely for meeting the strategic communications needs by Defence, Indian Railways and safety of life services. S band is the only band available in India and coordinated internationally for Mobile Satellite Services (MSS). No other frequency band is available for MSS in future," said G Madhavan Nair, Secretary of DoS.

The DoS has already agreed to release 40 MHz of spectrum in the 2.5-2.6 GHz. It has said that the remaining 150 MHz is the bare minimum spectrum requirement for the satellite services and that no further blocks of spectrum can be released in this band.

Concerns over the possible interference by WiMax services with defence and space communications in the 2.5-2.6 spectrum band have also been expressed. "The characteristics of WiMax to be operated in the spectrum portion likely to be auctioned in India in the 2.5-2.69 GHz band show that it will severely constrain the operation of the satellite services. Hence WiMax equipment characteristics need modification for coexistence with satellite services.

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