S Jagathrakshakan, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, has stated that the ministry is in talks with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to formulate a regulatory framework to allocate spectrum for mobile TV services, reports The Economic Times. This announcement was made by the minister in a report presented for discussion in the Lok Sabha.
According to the report, the ministry has held several talks with DoT and has formulated a broad solution with certain defence related issues such as relocating Defence Services from the spectrum which is to be allocated for these services, are yet to be sorted out. The ministry has apparently now asked DoT to resolve these issues with the Ministry of Defence.
Last month, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ambika Soni, has said that the Ministry could not put in place a regulatory framework for mobile TV service since there was not enough spectrum in UHF Band V (585-698 MHz), which is required for running mobile tv services. In response to a question by MPs Supriya Sule and Dr Sanjeev Ganesh Naik in the Parliament, Soni had informed that Doordarshan has been carrying out mobile television services as a pilot project in Delhi since May 2007 and Mobile TV signals can be received on DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld) enabled mobile phones within a range of about 10 km from Akashvani Bhawan, Parliament Street, New Delhi where the transmitter was located. She added that the transmission currently features 16 TV channels from Doordarshan including DD National, DD Sports, DD News, DD Bharati and DD India among others.
Prior to this, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has asked the ministry to resolve all pending issues that had hindered the launch of Mobile TV services by private companies in India and the government was apparently finalising the policy to e-auction slots for mobile television, following the success of a similar e-auction of Doordarshan’s direct-to-home platform DD Direct Plus.
In March 2011, I&B Secretary, Raghu Menon had informed that the Ministry was engaged in laying down a suitable regulatory framework for private players to provide Mobile TV services, nearly an year after the TRAI had made its last recommendations. He had further said that the issues related to spectrum identification within the recommended band, determination of service area licences and the number of providers, were under discussion, along with TRAI recommendations which had recommended that mobile and UAS licensees should also be allowed to bid for mobile TV licenses. However, we did not hear any further update from the government on this issue.
According to Ambika Soni, the Ministry had estimated that at least 96 MHz spectrum would be required to roll out Mobile TV services on a pan India basis. However, as per the India Remarks (IND 37) footnote in the National Frequency Allocation Plan 2011, the spectrum requirement for Doordarshan’s digitalization programme and Mobile TV services are to be met in the UHF Band V (585-698 MHz), out of which Doordarshan has already projected a requirement of 64 MHz in the frequency band for its digitalization programme, leaving the available spectrum for mobile TV services far below the requirement.