Satcom Spectrum: Jio makes a pitch for auction, Bharti Airtel tight-lipped

While Bharti Airtel has maintained silence on the problem of spectrum allocation for Satcom providers by not taking a categorical place both for auctions or in opposition to it, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are batting for the public sale of spectrum.

Amid the rising traction of satellite tv for pc communication (Satcom) providers and international tech majors evincing curiosity within the Indian market, incumbent telecom gamers appear to vary on the right way to allocate spectrum for such providers.

While Bharti Airtel has maintained silence on the problem of spectrum allocation for Satcom providers by not taking a categorical place both for auctions or in opposition to it, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are batting for the public sale of spectrum.

Broadband India Forum, an affiliation of know-how gamers like Google, Hughes, and many others, is against auctions and feels that since spectrum for Satcom will not be unique to an operator as is the case with terrestrial spectrum used for cellular providers, auctioning makes no sense.

“World over, satellite spectrum is authorised for ‘right-to-use’ by all administrations and is allocated only by the administrative process at charges essentially covering the cost of administration. Unlike terrestrial spectrum, satellite spectrum is never exclusively assigned to the operator but coordinated internationally and shared among multiple operators for different orbital slots and all types of satellites. Thus, the terrestrial concept of exclusivity does not apply and auctioning, therefore, is not applicable,” Broadband India Forum (BIF) president, TV Ramachandran advised Financial Express.

Satellite communications is extraordinarily helpful for offering broadband providers in distant, hilly, and inaccessible areas. It can also be the one medium by means of which communication will be established in catastrophe zones when regular communication will get affected. In satellite tv for pc communications, providers are offered by means of low-earth orbit (Leo) satellites, by means of which a field is suspended in distant and hilly areas which creates WiFi spots by means of which broadband providers are offered.

In November 2020, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Enterprises bought into this enterprise by means of a UK-based agency OneWeb. The firm plans to launch a whole 360 satellites to assemble an international satellite tv for pc constellation that can present enhanced broadband and different providers to international locations worldwide.

Beginning May-June 2022, OneWeb plans to launch business broadband providers in a number of elements of the globe in distant and hilly areas place at the moment such providers should not obtainable. The providers would begin from the UK and the Arctic area and subsequently broaden. Services are anticipated to begin in India someday October 2022 onwards.

On the latest occasions, international tech majors like Amazon, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have additionally proven curiosity in such providers and India figures prominently in their plans.
While Bharti has bought into the satellite tv for pc recreation, Jio and Vodafone Idea are nonetheless to agency up any plans.

A headstart in satellite tv for pc communication providers is advantageous for a telecom operator as 5G providers are depending on it. Internet of issues (IoT) depends on satellites.

No surprise, among the telecom operators, need the public sale of spectrum for satellite tv for pc providers. For occasion, Reliance Jio feels that any spectrum band successful for use for cellular/competing providers must be assigned strictly by means of public sale and each terrestrial and satellite tv for pc operators must be allowed to take part in that public sale after which these operators must be free to decide on whether or not they wish to use it for the terrestrial or satellite-based community.

“Further, assignment of even Ka/Ku/C band spectrum for Geo/Meo satellite must be done through auction only,” Jio has advised the Trai, which has floated a session paper on licensing framework for satellite-based connectivity for low bit fee purposes.

Similarly, Vodafone Idea, in its submission, has stated that to make sure optimum utilisation of valuable and scarce pure useful resource, spectrum for use for satellite-based providers must be put to public sale route solely earlier than allocations. “Any other administrative allocations would cause huge loss to the national exchequer,” Vodafone Idea has stated.

BIF’s Ramachandran counters such positions taken by Jio and Vodafone Idea. According to him, auctioning of satellite tv for pc spectrum would, by the identical logic, entail taking again of all backhaul microwave spectrum and all Wi-Fi spectrum from the telecom operators and auctioning them. “Auctioning of satellite spectrum would, by the same logic, entail the taking back of all backhaul microwave spectrum and all Wifi spectrum, and auctioning them, which would patently disrupt all connectivity and the economy,” Ramachandran stated.

“Moreover, satellite spectrum provides crucial connectivity for disaster relief, helps bridge the digital divide in unserved/underserved areas, takes the extension of wireless coverage to far-flung inaccessible areas and provides critical safety communications in the high seas. For both above reasons, administrations have rightly refrained from considering auction of satellite spectrum,” he added.

SIA-India, a newly launched affiliation of satellite tv for pc gamers, has stated that spectrum entry is essential for satellite tv for pc broadband providers. “Only satellite can bring broadband to India’s vast geographic areas in a realistic timeframe since unlike terrestrial 5G, it does not require expansive infrastructure on the ground like street furniture, right of way, fibre laying etc. Advances in technology mean that, unlike terrestrial where a particular spectrum has to be dedicatedly allocated to a specific service provider, the satellite spectrum is reused by multiple satellites,” Anil Prakash, DG, SIA-India stated.

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