India has finally decided to sell satcom spectrum -- and not everyone is cheering

14th December 2022
India has finally decided to sell satcom spectrum -- and not everyone is cheering

Bangalore, December 14 2022: India will be the first country to auction spectrum for satellite communication, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India  (TRAI) chairman PD Vaghela said yesterday according to a PTI report.
Speaking at a Broadband India Forum summit on SatCom, Vaghela said Trai will soon make recommendations to make permissions required for  satellite  communication from various ministries -- Information and Broadcasting, Space and Telecom -- seamless to enhance ease of doing business in the sector.
TRAI has received a reference from the Department of Telecommunication for the spectrum required to be put to auction and associated aspects of satellite-based communication.
"I think India will be the first to handle the issue of auctioning the space base spectrum. We are working on it," Vaghela said.
Industry  has divergent views
However the satellite industry has  generally opposed auctioning of spectrum. It  has urged the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to administratively allocate spectrum to them and not take the auction route.  Satellite spectrum auction has never happened in India  and globally the administrative allocation route is preferred. 
Anil Prakash, Director General of SIA-India (Satcom Industry Association of India). SIA said that during the three days deliberations at the India Space Congress 2022, the members of the space industry echoed the view for administrative allocation of 28MhZ spectrum and not to take the auction route. 
Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittaladded his weight,saying satellite communications  should not be auctioned on the lines of its recent sale for 5G services. He reasoned these airwaves will be used in limited areas and will not be a cash-rich source for generating billions of dollars of revenue.
However, the other big telecom providers  Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea prefer the auction route for satellite spectrum.
In fact  DoT  has already approved a licence to Jio Satellite Communications, to offer satellite-based communication services in the country.