The aircraft communications industry has raised concerns against auction of the wireless spectrum used for communicating between planes and airports, citing that the process would become burdensome and that this is not how such spectrum is licensed around the world. Meanwhile, the telecom industry, on the other hand, pushed for a very high frequency (VHF) spectrum to be allotted only on the basis of auctions.

Representatives from the two industries argued their views in an open house discussion held by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The discussion followed written submissions that were filled by these firms earlier this year.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) referred the issue to TRAI in April 2022. Ten countries reviewed by the telecom regulator, including the United States, Singapore, New Zealand, Qatar, and Sri Lanka, do not have an auction system for awarding VHF licenses for communications between aircraft and airports. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) runs such data communications systems using VHF in six airports. Both AAI and air communications firms argued against auctions, as this is a rare practice, and because VHF radio signals can only go as far as the eye can see, and are difficult to use for anything other than basic location and status signalling.