India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has allocated UMTS spectrum to state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Nigam (BSNL) for the launch of pilot 3G services, despite claiming that frequencies are scarce, writes the Times of India. The allocation was revealed as a footnote in a paper issued by the Ministry of Communications (MoC) to call for a debate on spectrum usage. According to the paper BSNL has been handed 2×5MHz of frequency in the 2GHz band covering Pune, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Coimbatore. BSNL is set to begin testing services in the regions in conjunction with technical partner Nokia.
A number of cellcos have applied for permission to trial 3G services, but confusion surrounds which have been successful. The Business Standard says that, in addition to BSNL, MTNL, Bharti Airtel and Hutchison Telecommunications have all received limited 3G spectrum for pilot services. The trio have just a month to test services in a closed campus for technical demonstration, a DoT official told the paper.