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India releases spectrum for 4G mobile broadband services

Spectrum in the 700MHz band is to be made available for fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband services in India, following an agreement between the country's Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The ministry had wanted to use the 700MHz spectrum for mobile TV services. However, the band has been allocated for wireless broadband, in line with international standards. This will enable the delivery of video content at high speed to mobile devices, as well as other data rich internet-based applications.

"The issue of spectrum in the 700MHz band has been resolved," Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said on Monday (5 March). "By and large, all the issues related to vacation of spectrum have been resolved. The empowered group of ministers [headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee] will meet again next week."

Issues over the release of spectrum in the 1700-2000 MHz bands, which has to be vacated by the defence forces, will also be resolved soon, added Sibal.

The first round of auctions for broadband wireless (4G) networks took place in June 2010 and fetched INR38,000 crore for the Indian Government. The next are scheduled by the end of this year, Sibal told attendees of the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona at the end of February.

Reliance Industries, through Infotel Broadband, is the only company yet to take a pan-India licence.

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