The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is set to issue its recommendation on satellite spectrum allocation methodology and other pending matters once a regular chairperson is appointed. The position has been vacant since October 1, following the end of P D Vaghela’s tenure. In the meantime, Trai member Meenakshi Gupta is serving as the interim chairperson.
According to a senior Trai official, the chairperson will have the final say on the recommendations. The regulatory body is nearly ready with its recommendations on satellite spectrum allocation, but they await the appointment of a chairperson to make the final decision. The Department of Telecom (DoT) had invited applications for the position in June, and the selection process was completed in time. The DoT is now awaiting a decision regarding the appointment from higher authorities.
In recent developments, the DoT has granted internet service provider and GMPCS licenses to OneWeb and Jio Satellite Communications, both of which are backed by the Bharti group. These companies can offer internet services by connecting satellite service with terrestrial networks or through VSAT to end customers.
Satellite communication companies are eager to provide direct satellite services to end customers in India. However, they require spectrum for transmitting signals. While OneWeb is prepared to begin providing services within a month, Jio and Vodafone Idea have opposed the demand for spectrum allocation without an auction.
Apart from the satellite communication spectrum matter, Trai is also working on several other key subjects. This includes the framework for allocating spectrum in E and V bands, where telecom players and internet companies have conflicting views on the allocation methods.
Currently, there are eight open consultation papers, and Trai has extended the timelines for submission of comments from stakeholders.