5G Spectrum Auctions Can Hurt Satcom’s Future in India: SIA India

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If the government goes ahead with the auction route for 5G airwaves, it will hurt the satcom industry's future in India. Indian citizens would be deprived of satellite broadband services if the airwaves are auctioned for satellite communications (satcom) companies which will be a big loss to India’s GDP, said Satcom Industry Association (SIA) in a white paper released on Wednesday.

Looking at the global practices, the satcom industry wants the Indian government to go with the administrative allocation of airwaves to satcom players.

According to a PTI report, the white paper from SIA India said that if the government offers excessive resources for 5G auctions, it will result in Indian citizens being deprived of the benefits of advanced satellite broadband services, which would lead to a loss of up to USD $184.6 billion to India’s GDP.

SIA India Demands for Administrative Allocation of Spectrum

Instead of going with the auction route, SIA India has suggested that the government should allocate spectrum to the satcom players administratively. This is what happens globally, as well as the satcom companies use the same spectrum on a shared basis. But with the auctions, the spectrum is given exclusively to the company bidding the highest price.

Since spectrum is a limited and scarce resource, giving excessive of it to the telcos for 5G is not a good idea for the future of the satcom industry. The satcom industry has requested the Indian government to follow international practices.

However, the same views are not shared by the telecom operators — Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea (Vi). Both these telcos want the government to go ahead and award spectrum via auction only. In contrast, Airtel is batting for the spectrum to be allocated administratively for satcom services.

To do this, the government would have to reserve some frequencies for satcom players and not put it to auction for the telcos to bid for rolling out 5G services in the future.

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