Telecom Watchdog calls on DoT to prevent Amazon, OneWeb and Starlink from acquiring 5G spectrum for free via backdoor

Telecom Watchdog, a consumer forum and NGO, DoT, to prevent satellite operators from acquiring 4G and 5G spectrum for free through the backdoor and has focused on auction-only attribution.

(Photo: Starlink)


  • Telecom Watchdog has written to DoT to prevent satellite operators from free access to 4G or 5G spectrum.
  • This development comes after the president of Bharti, Sunil Mittal, declared that there was no reason to auction the spectrum of satellites.
  • OneWeb, a satellite communications company backed by Bharti, is expected to introduce its services in India from May 2022.

There has been a lot of talk about satellite operators and their broadband plans that are slated to roll out next year. Telecom Watchdog, a consumer forum and NGO, has now called on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to prevent these satellite operators, including Amazon, OneWeb and Starlink, from acquiring 4G and 5G spectrum for free through the backdoor and focused on auction-only attribution. . The forum noted that any deviation from the standard auction method would lead to security concerns and upset the rules of the game in the telecommunications industry.

ET Telecom cited the letter Telecom Watchdog wrote to Telecommunications Secretary Anshu Prakash, which noted: “A number of deep-pocketed companies like OneWeb, Starlink and Amazon have aligned themselves to grab free 4G or 5G spectrum under the guise to provide cheaper premium services. -high-speed satellite internet services in rural and remote areas, and any (such) attempts to gain backdoor entry into the Indian telecommunications market by satellite players and their lobby groups should be scuttled.

This development comes shortly after Bharti chairman Sunil Mittal said there was no need to auction satellite spectrum and that it would not meet global standards. Mittal also sought to make a clear distinction between the terrestrial spectrum used and the satcom spectrum. “What auction are you doing? People don’t understand. It is not a terrestrial spectrum that is used. It’s not going to be used in all parts of the country. It will only be at two landing stations at these specific points. Worldwide, there has never been an auction for the satellite spectrum, “Mittal said in a virtual briefing last week when discussing OneWeb India’s plans.

The telecommunications NGO pointed out that the Supreme Court made it clear that spectrum or natural resources like the orbital slot used for telecommunications services “regardless of being used in a terrestrial network as a backbone or via satellite constellations Should be awarded by auction, emphasizing only that any other method of spectrum allocation would lead to unauthorized backdoor entry.

OneWeb, a Bharti-backed satellite communications company, is expected to introduce its services in India from May 2022 and aims to achieve broadband in underserved and remote areas of the country. Meanwhile, Amazon is expected to contact authorities soon, including the Ministry of Space, to obtain the approvals required to offer satellite services in the country. Starlink, backed by Elon Musk, has already opened pre-orders for its satellite broadband services in India for a refundable deposit of $ 99, or nearly 7,300 rupees.

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