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Prasad, Parrikar meeting to resolve 3G spectrum

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be meeting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to resolve issues related to 3G spectrum.

New Delhi: Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be meeting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to resolve issues related to 3G spectrum.

"I have meeting in connection with your work of connectivity on defence bands," Prasad said at Convergence India 2015 while speaking to telecom industry representatives.

Officials in Telecom Ministry confirmed that Prasad is scheduled to meet Parrikar later in the day to discuss defence band matter.

Telecom operators have been demanding from the government auction of 20 Megahertz of 3G (2100 Mhz band) spectrum in February but government has only assured auction of 5 Mhz of spectrum.

All the 3G spectrum, which is proposed to be put up for auction, need to be freed by the Defence Ministry. Defence Ministry has agreed to free 5 Mhz of 3G spectrum as of now and 15 Mhz when the government notifies a dedicated spectrum for defence forces as 'Defence Band and Defence Interest Zone'.

Prasad has earlier said that he expects the dedicated spectrum band for the defence sector to be notified in February.

The Department of Telecom has announced dates for next round of spectrum auction for 800 Mhz (CDMA), 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands but is yet to share details of 3G spectrum.

Inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission on Monday is learnt to have suggested a base price of Rs 3,705 crore per megahertz as 3G spectrum base price for upcoming auction, about 11 per cent higher than what companies paid for the same during the 2010 sale.

It is also 36 per cent higher than regulator TRAI's recommendation of Rs 2,720 crore per Mhz.

The government expects to raise at least Rs 64,840 crore from the auction, excluding 3G.

During the event, the Minister invited suggestions from industry to improve connectivity in the country.

Prasad cited examples of desire among Indians to get connected and deep inclination to use technology.

"When i was on my political tour to UP. I had my meeting in Basti or in some rural area. Someone asked me there that couple of months back on a TV channel you said this.

"I had forgotten it and asked how he knew about it. He said that we don't have energy but we have battery. After our farming is over we see TV debate whole night. This is trait in India to use power of technology," Prasad said.

The minister said that to connect rural India with high speed broadband, government is working towards laying about 7 lakh kilometer of optical fibre in 3 years.

"We owe it to Indians to helps us create that enabling environment to get connected," Prasad said.