The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is reportedly considering allocating higher frequency airwaves to Reliance Jio after it was discovered that the telco’s operations in the 850-950 MHz spectrum range in the Junnar taluka of Pune was creating interference with the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT).
Earlier in 2016, the DoT had awarded airwaves in the 850-950 MHz range to Jio for operations in Maharashtra.
However, this coincided with the GMRT’s frequency operation range (100MHz to 1500MHz). Following this, scientists from the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) raised the issue with the Ministry of Communications in early 2018.
As per industry sources, GMRT enjoys special protection of around 900 MHz spectrum for carrying out astronomy-related activities. However, the constant interference has led to a significant volume of data getting corrupted, rendering them unusable for scientific research.
Regarding this matter, senior DoT officials have maintained that DoT cannot make available frequency matching with that of the GMRT’s operations for auction. Also, they have highlighted that if the ministry decides to allocate higher frequency to the telecom operator, spectrum and other payments as well as the re-allocation itself could take some time.
At present, the case is being considered by the office of Anshu Prakash, Chairman DCC and Secretary, (Technology). The matter is expected to be resolved within the next two months.