The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) wants the help of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to understand the way the spectrum should be allocated in the future. The telecom department is confused about whether it should administratively allocate the spectrum to the satellite communications (satcom) companies or whether they should also get it through the auctions.
According to a Financial Express report, the regulator has sought information from the DoT about which spectrum bands will be available during the auction and which frequency spectrum do broadcasters, government entities, and other players use. After getting the complete details, TRAI will start with the consultation process to determine what should DoT do.
Industry Experts, Players at Divide Over the Spectrum Allocation Issue
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said the spectrum should be allocated to the satcom companies in an administrative manner. At the same time, telecom companies, including Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio, have said that everyone should get the spectrum from the government in a fair and transparent manner through auctions.
Broadband India Forum (BIF) has voiced its opinion that unlike the case with terrestrial network service providers, the spectrum for satcom companies won’t be exclusive to a single operator. This is why auctioning and selling the spectrum to satcom companies doesn’t make any sense.
Multiple private satcom companies, including Bharti backed OneWeb and SpaceX owned Starlink, along with other companies, are going to start providing services in India from 2022. OneWeb already has statutory approvals from the DoT.
It is worth noting that DoT can grant statutory approvals anytime. But the allocation of spectrum is the main thing, and that will only be done once TRAI has completed the consultation process. Satcom companies are going to play a major role in the growth of India, and they will be necessary for aiding 5G networks.
Telecom companies can partner with the satcom players to ensure that their 4G and 5G networks also reach the remotest parts of India.