After the 5G spectrum auctions are over, now it is the turn of the satcom (satellite communications) service providers to get spectrum. Satcom sector is all set to grow in the private communications space in India from 2022. Many global satcom players are eyeing the Indian market because of the scale and money involved. The telecom sector regulatory body - TRAI, is going to be taking consultations from the industry stakeholders and experts about how the spectrum should be allocated to the satcom players, said an ET Telecom report.
There has been a lot of discussion around this topic already. Many are of the view that spectrum to the satcom players should be given in an administrative manner. There are many who oppose this and suggest that the spectrum should be given through auctions only for a fair process.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has informed TRAI that spectrum is available in the Ku and Ka bands for satellite communications. How the debate would settle is entirely unknown for now. But, the report suggests that DoT feels auctions are the best way to go forward for giving out spectrum to satcom players.
It is worth noting that the Supreme Court in 2012 had said that the spectrum should only be allocated through an auction. There should be no administrative allocation because that isn't transparent enough. However, DoT will be leaving the decision to TRAI to suggest an allocation methodology for the satellite spectrum.
Jio and Vodafone Idea Against Airtel
Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are of the view that an auction is the best way to go forward. But Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, which owns a significant stake in OneWeb, a global satcom player, feels that administrative allocation is important for the satcom industry to grow. What will happen, only time will tell. For now, it would be interesting to see what the regulatory policies around the satcom business would look like.