Private operators will have to wait for more time to set up mobile TV

NEW DELHI: Private operators will have to wait for some more time to introduce mobile television in the country as the decision to restrict the requirement of spectrum for various broadcasting services within 585-646 MHz has further complicated its introduction.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on vacation of spectrum took this decision in its meeting held on 5 March 2012.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources told that in the light of this decision, the feasibility of introduction of Mobile TV has been jeopardised.

Earlier, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had in its recommendations on Issues Relating to Mobile Television Service on 23 January 2008 made recommendations for introduction of Mobile TV services by private operators. Although the Information and Broadcasting Ministry was in agreement with majority of recommendations, the draft policy on Mobile TV has not been prepared due to non-availably of adequate spectrum in the UHF Band V (585-698 MHz).

50 MHz of broadcasting spectrum allocated to Defence

The Ministry had projected the requirement of spectrum for Doordarshan (585-646 MHz) and Mobile TV (96 MHz beyond 646 MHz) in UHF Band V. But Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing (WPC) said it had already decided to allocate frequency band 625-675 MHz - a total of 50 MHz - to Defence within 585-695 MHz, though it had been allocated to broadcasting services.

This allocation to Defence disturbs the entire band as requirement spectrum for DD and Mobile TV is to be met within 585-698 MHz, as recommended by Trai and National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP) 2011.

The Ministry had, therefore, suggested that even if Defence has to be given spectrum, it should be towards one end of 585-698 MHz - beyond 646 MHz - so that broadcasting spectrum remains contiguous. Accordingly, the Department of Telecom and the WPC had been requested to talk to Defence about relocation of Defence spectrum to 646-698 MHz (a total of 52 MHz), but no reply has been received so far.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has been informed by the I&B Ministry that the draft Policy of Mobile Television has been put on hold due to non-availability of adequate spectrum in the VHF band V(585-698 MHz) and in view of this the Ministry may have to examine the feasibility of introducing mobile TV services.

Parliamentary Committee questions allocation to Defence

The Committee in its report says it fails to see why the frequency band 625-675 MHz was allocated to Defence when the I& B Ministry had already communicated to WPC about their projection requirement of spectrum for DD (585-646 MHz) and mobile TV (96 MHz) as 646-742 MHZ.

I&B rapped for failure to negotiate

The Committee said it was "extremely disappointed to note that Ministry has not handled the issue of spectrum allocation with concerned authorities timely and with requisite attention which has led to such a stalemate in the issue".

In view of the decision of the EGoM, the Committee "has no choice but to advise the Ministry to review the spectrum availability and take up the matter suitably with the concerned authorities so that the launching of mobile television is not put into cold storage and the country does not lag behind in this area."

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