"The quantum of spectrum Defence wants accounts for about Rs 47,000 crore spectrum usage charge annually at present rates. DoT will approach the Cabinet seeking waiver of this charge for Defence," an official source said.
DoT and the Defence Ministry are jointly working on a plan to get some spectrum freed from the latter for commercial mobile telephony services.
The waiver is part of a memorandum of understanding between the two ministries - Defence and Telecom - signed in 2009.
As per the MoU, Defence will free some spectrum for commercial mobile telephony and in return user charges will be waived off on spectrum that will be assigned under the Defence Band and Defence Interest Zone.
The pact also included building of dedicated optical fibre base network for the Defence by the Telecom Ministry which is not finished yet.
Defence has already agreed to vacate 5 Mhz in 3G service band which is expected to be put up for auction in February.
Apart from the 5 Mhz, DoT has proposed that the Defence interchange 15 Mhz of spectrum in a frequency band with same quantum of 3G spectrum.
"Defence has agreed for the same but has said that it will swap spectrum after Defence Band and DIZ are promulgated," sources said.
In 2010, three blocks each having 5 Mhz frequency of 3G spectrum were auctioned across the country and fetched Rs 67,718.95 crore to the exchequer.
As part of the MoU, Defence has agreed to vacate 150 Mhz out of 300 Mhz that it holds in the frequency bands ranging from 1700 Mhz to 2000 Mhz. This band includes frequencies that can be used for transmitting 2G and 3G mobile signals.
The 1800 Mhz band, widely known as 2G spectrum, that lies in this range is being used for mobile services.
An inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission has estimated the latest value of spectrum in 1800 Mhz band at minimum of Rs 2,191 crore per Mhz.
DoT and Defence also are working on to allocate 20 Mhz spectrum to latter in 700 Mhz band , which telecom regulator TRAI in 2012 suggested should be priced four times compared to 1800 Mhz band.
Defence has also sought promulgation of Defence band and DIZ in 1427-1500 Mhz band, 2300-2400 Mhz and 21.2-23.6 Gigahertz band.
According to sources, DoT has identified dedicated spectrum for the Defence in lower frequency bands for better signal coverage. For instance, spectrum in 900 Mhz band is known to provide double the coverage, compared to signals transmitted using 1800 Mhz band spectrum.

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