The satellite communications (satcom) service providers and the telecom or terrestrial network service providers (TSPs) have contradicting views when it comes to spectrum auctions. First of all, the satcom sector didn’t want India to hold an auction for allocating airwaves for satellite services. Instead, the satcom players were looking forward to an administrative allocation of spectrum.
There is a demand from the satcom sector for reserving frequencies in the mmWave (millimetre wavelength) band for satcom services. But the telecom operators feel like this is not something that the telecom department should do.
Pranav Roach, President, Hughes India, in an exclusive conversation with TelecomTalk, explained why there’s a conflict between the views of satcom and telecom operators.
Spectrum Auction Not Practical for Satcom Services
The telecom operators want a spectrum auction in a uniform manner, but for satcom players, it isn’t practical.
“We are used to mobile spectrum being auctioned for the reason that it is a limited resource, and the government would also like to obviously realise the best value it can and find the best user for that spectrum. Now, unfortunately, that’s physically or practically not possible in the satellite arena for the reason that the satellite technology works differently,” explained Roach.
“In order to have the satellite spectrum available, we must first have the satellite, and for that, you first must have an orbital slot. So when the orbital slot is allocated, the spectrum or the frequency comes along with that.”
“So now if you take away…..say I have the satellites in a particular orbital slot, and I have certain frequencies that have been allocated to me with that slot. Now I have already made an investment for the satellite based on that frequency allocation, and somebody cannot come and say that you know this frequency will be used by me. So, there is this conflict,” Roach added.
The telecom operators also want frequencies in the mmWave band to deliver the best possible 5G experience to the enterprises and consumers. But this stands to hurt the investments that the satcom players have already made.