Spectrum is the basis of wireless communication and is a valuable resource. The spectrum used for mobile telephony is very crowded with more users starting to use smarter, bandwidth-hungry phones, degrading performance seriously. It is rapidly reaching a point of saturation. There is much debate on shortage of spectrum in India. Truth is, there is no shortage of spectrum in India, it is only that the spectrum management in India is being done in a terrible and inefficient manner.

A way to better utilize spectrum is cognitive radio technology, which is also the lowest cost technology to address information poverty in rural areas and a means to catapult India to a telecom technology leader. Terrestrial TV spectrum is ideal for demonstrating the power of this concept.

Please read more on the issue at Managing and utilizing spectrum more efficiently

To understand how spectrum is managed in the country and how can cognitive radio offer a solution, please see short film Why open spectrum?

Read the Right to information queries and responses to these queries here.


On 05 June 2012 CED magazine reported that US is going the shared spectrum way.The last remaining court challenge to the FCC’s white space order was withdrawn Monday when the wireless microphone industry formally dismissed its petition for review of the regulations.

The cancellation of the suit removes the last legal hurdle for the regulations, which allow devices to use vacant spectrum between television channels.

Under a second set of FCC white space regulations put forth in 2010, locations where wireless microphones are used, such as theatres and stadiums, can be registered in the FCC’s white space database, protecting them from interference from other devices using the unlicensed spectrum. Last lawsuit dropped against FCC white space order

On 14 March 2011 The Economic Times reported “DoT, I&B ministry spar over spectrum”. Ministry of I&B claimed that the spectrum in 700 Mhz is reserved for public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD), while the ministry of communication and IT has denied such claims saying the spectrum was required for expansion of mobile (IMT) and broadband wireless services (BWA).

“In 700 Mhz frequency band, spectrum was earmarked for them but never allocated. There is process for spectrum allocation. An organisation needs to obtain wireless operating licence (WOL) to use spectrum and frequently renew it. Doordarshan never did it,” DoT said. The DoT clarified that National Frequency Allocation Plan 2008 clearly mentioned that Broadcast, IMT and Fixed services as primary service in this band.

On 25 February 2011 it was reported that ” The telecom department has initiated the process of auctioning airwaves in the 700 MHz band, which, it says is the ‘most efficient and cost-effective’ frequency for delivering wireless broadband.” (The Economic Times) The ministry has set a target for Doordarshan and other government agencies to vacate these frequencies by the year-end so that the auctions can be held in 2012.

The country has about 108 units of airwaves in the 700 MHz band that can be utilised for commercial services, half of which is used by Doordarshan, while the armed forces have about 36 units or MHz. The remaining 24 MHz is held by other government agencies.

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Department of Telecommunication in 2003-04
5239kv. 1 Mar 16, 2010, 8:01 AM Manasi Dash