India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to conduct a spectrum auction for offering satellite broadband services.
Satellite companies are looking the allocation of the spectrum and not an auction of spectrum.
DoT has requested the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to provide its recommendations on appropriate frequency bands, band plan, block size applicable reserve price, the quantum of spectrum to be auctioned, and associated conditions for auction of spectrum for space-based communication services, according to media reports.
TRAI has also sought details on frequency bands of satellite spectrum and quantum of spectrum available in each band required to be put to auction for satcom services, the report said.
India’s telecom operators want satellite spectrum to be auctioned because they also have to buy spectrum through an auction for mobile services. Telecom player argue that since satellite operators will be competing for the same market, the rules of the game should be the same for all.
The international standard is that satellite spectrum is not auctioned and rather assigned through paying the license fee.
Sunil Mittal, chairman of Airtel Bharti and OneWeb, a satellite internet company, said there is no case for auction for satellite spectrum because, unlike terrestrial spectrum, the use cases are different.
DoT in a letter dated November 27, 2021 said that information in respect of space-based services sought by TRAI (via their November 23 letter) …will take some time. DoT said TRAI may go ahead with consultations / recommendations on issues excluding space-based communication services to avoid delay in the 5G roll-out. Issues on space-based communication services may be taken up separately on receipt of information from the DoT.