According to the Indian Space Association (ISpA), the suggestions on flexible usage of satellite spectrum appear to be an attempt to mislead and derail the spectrum allocation process for the preferred launch of satellite communications services.

Telecom operators are divided over the allocation of space-based spectrum for the launch of satellite communication services. While Bharti Airtel-backed One Web and Amazon are pitching for administrative allocation, Reliance Jio is backing the auction route. Recently, Jio had written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and sought flexible use of airwaves between satellite and terrestrial use.

According to Lt Gen A K Bhatt (retd), director general, ISpA, this submission seems to be an effort to mislead and derail the spectrum allocation process for the preferred launch of satcom services. He said the New Zealand government’s decision on the use of 26 GHz spectrum band nowhere advocates the flexible usage of satellite spectrum, it only defines the shared use of spectrum. The document clearly states that the New Zealand government’s decision is a temporary measure and that the final decision on this will be taken by 2026 after prior consultations.

Further, Bhatt added that the private space industry in India is at a nascent stage and the recent successes of the Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya L1 mission is a big boost for the growth potential of the industry. He said that the government’s efforts of nation-building and fuelling the Indian space economy call for administrative allocation of satellite spectrum. Bhatt noted that the Department of Space and the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) in the past have shown their support for the administrative method of allocation. They have stated that auctioning the satellite-based spectrum will create a barrier to growth and impact the innovation drive of the space sector start-ups and other private players in the country.