DoT Might Go Against Satcom Industry Wishes and Auction the Spectrum

TRAI has sought clarity from DoT on what frequency bands are meant to be satellite spectrum and what quantum of it will be available. In the international markets, satellite spectrum is allocated administratively by paying a license fee.

Highlights

  • The satcom industry has been very vocal about the need for allocating the spectrum administratively.
  • The telcos want the DoT to provide spectrum through a uniform manner (auctions) to everyone who wants it.
  • There isn’t much time left and the government needs to move fast with the policies and bringing clarity for the sector.

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With new satellite communications (satcom) players entering the Indian market next year, the need for high-frequency spectrum would be shared by both satcom players and terrestrial network service providers. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to conduct a spectrum auction next year for both the satcom and terrestrial network companies, reports The Hindu BusinessLine.

The satcom industry has been very vocal about the need for allocating the spectrum administratively. But the terrestrial network service providers have been against it and have expressed that everyone in the communications sector should be given the airwaves in a uniform and transparent manner through the auctions.

DoT Has Written to TRAI Asking Recommendations for Suitable Frequency Bands and More

The publication’s report highlights that DoT has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) about the suitable frequency bands, the quantum of spectrum to be auctioned, a fresh reserve price for multiple frequency bands, and more.

TRAI has also sought clarity from DoT on what frequency bands are meant to be satellite spectrum and what quantum of it will be available.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, has said on multiple occasions that the spectrum for the satcom industry should not be auctioned, and the government should allocate it in an administrative manner. Mittal said that the use cases for satellite spectrum are completely different, and thus it doesn’t make sense to auction it.

But the telecom operators, on the other hand, want the DoT to provide spectrum through a uniform manner (auctions) to everyone who wants it. As per the telcos, it would enable a fair playing field for everyone involved in the communications business.

It is worth noting that in the international markets, satellite spectrum is allocated administratively by paying a license fee. Multiple satcom players such as Bharti owned OneWeb, SpaceX owned Starlink, and more will enter the Indian boundaries to offer commercial satellite communications services next year. There isn’t much time left, and the government needs to move fast with the policies and bring clarity for the sector.

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