Bharat Bhatia has several decades of experience in areas such as telecom and ICT policy, regulation and spectrum management. A former officer of the Indian Radio Regulatory Service, he has worked with the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Industry for over two decades as a senior regulator. During his stint with the government, he was instrumental in crafting policies for the opening up of the telecom sector to private investment during the 1980s and 1990s. He was a key architect of India’s first National Frequency Allocation Plan in 1981. He also held the position of president of the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India, wherein he helped set up the Telecom Export Promotion Council and led delegations to various countries, promoting Indian telecom exports.
Post his stint with the government, Bhatia joined Motorola, where he worked from 1996 to 2019 as global head of spectrum and regulations, managing the company’s spectrum teams across the world. During his engagement with Motorola in Singapore, he got involved with the Association of Telecom Industries of Singapore as vice president.
In 2016, he took over as president of the ailing ITU-APT Foundation of India, and transformed it into a key regional telecom organisation. “My main aim is to strengthen India’s presence and participation in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT). India was a strong force in global ITU affairs until early 2000, but it lost some ground in recent times,” he notes.
As part of his association with the ITU, he has participated actively in various meetings and World Radio Conferences (WRCs). In fact, he was the key propagator of the ITU WRC 646 on Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR), which was approved at the WRC-2003. He was also the key originator of the WRC agenda under which Resolution 646 on the PPDR was successfully revised to include the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands at the WRC-2015.
Currently, he is serving as chairman of the PPDR communications working group under the ITU-R study group, which focuses on 5G as well. “Going forward, 5G will increasingly support India’s industrial development. Meanwhile, wireless is and will continue to be the primary driver for India’s development,” he says.
Bhatia has a BE in electronics and telecommunications from Delhi University and he is a fellow member of the Institution of Electronics & Telecommunications Engineers.