DoT Might Go to SC for Figuring Out Satcom Spectrum Allocation

An order from the Supreme Court of India given in 2012 has put the DoT in a little confusing situation. The order says that the airwaves or spectrum are scarce natural resource and thus they will need to be provided to the interested parties through an auction.

Highlights

  • An order from the Supreme Court of India given in 2012 has put the DoT in a little confusing situation
  • The DoT is planning to reach out to the SC for understanding what it can do in the respective situation
  • Many of the industry bodies have argued that if the spectrum is sold or auctioned to the satcom companies, it will break their plans of investments in India

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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to move to the Supreme Court (SC) for understanding how it should proceed with the spectrum allocation to the satcom industry. The satcom industry and investors have asked DoT to not auction the spectrum, while on the other hand, the telecom companies operating terrestrial networks have argued that it should be the same rule for all. The telcos want the satcom industry to get its spectrum from the spectrum auction too. To clear out what it can and cannot do, the DoT is planning to move to SC.

SC Order Has Put DoT In Confusing Situation

An order from the Supreme Court of India given in 2012 has put the DoT in a little confusing situation. The order says that the airwaves or spectrum are a scarce natural resource, and thus they will need to be provided to the interested parties through an auction. The SC order bars the government from administratively allocating the spectrum. But in the same year, a five-member bench had said that not all natural resources need to be seen in the same scope as airwaves/spectrum and thus auction should not be the sole criteria for each of them.

As per an ET Telecom report, the DoT is planning to reach out to the SC for understanding what it can do in the respective situation. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, had previously said that the spectrum should be provided to the satcom companies without the auction route. Mittal had further pointed out that going the auction route would not even be in tune with the global procedure.

Many of the industry bodies have argued that if the spectrum is sold or auctioned to the satcom companies, it will break their plans of investments in India. It is a peculiar situation for the government, and only time and the decision from SC will tell what will happen.

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