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Bharti Airtel seeks alternative freuency band for 3G in J&K

The company could not commercially launch 3G services in the state with present frequency band allocated to it

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has asked the (DoT) for spectrum in an alternative frequency band for 3G in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) service area as it could not commercially launch 3G services in J&K with the present frequency band allocated to the company.

The country’s largest telecom service provider by subscriber base has suggested that spectrum in the frequency range 1,940-1,959 MHz, which is relatively clean, would be a suitable alternative to the currently allocated spectrum in the 1,974-1,979 MHz band which suffers from high interference.

Bharti Airtel, in a recent communication to secretary R Chandrashekhar, has said that though the company was allocated 3G frequencies (1,974-1,979 MHz / 2,164-2,169 MHz) in J&K, commercial launch of the 3G service was not possible due to acute signal interference emanating from outside India.

The company has also submitted the details of interference and drive test analysis reports to the DoT.

Further, Bharti Airtel has sought DoT permission to launch BlackBerry services in J&K from this month. It also said that state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) which does not have official permission for BlackBerry service has been offering the same for some time now. Bharti Airtel has already put in place interception system for complete BlackBerry services by December 31, 2012 as directed by the DoT.

Besides, Bharti Airtel has requested the DoT to lift ban on SMS service in J&K for prepaid users, which constitute about 97% of total subscriber base, as security conditions have improved in the troubled telecom zone in the past few years. The Home Department of Jammu & Kashmir had banned SMS service for pre-paid users in December 2010.

The company has also asked the DoT to allow national roaming for pre-paid users in the region.

Bharti Airtel has also asked DoT for a go ahead with its proposed launch of progressive download (PDL) services for the direct-to-home (DTH) customers so that users can avail internet-based services like video on demand. The DoT has, earlier, asked Bharti Airtel not to launch the service until a specific approval. However, Bharti Airtel, in its communication to the DoT, has pointed out that one of the DTH service providers has launched the PDL service without any licence.

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