Suggestions on Flexible Usage of Satellite Spectrum Draw Controversy

The Indian Space Association (ISpA) has denounced suggestions for flexible usage of satellite spectrum, claiming that they are misleading and intended to disrupt the spectrum allocation process for the launch of satellite communication services. Telecom operators are divided on this issue, with One Web and Amazon seeking administrative allocation and Reliance Jio supporting the auction approach.

ISpA, as the representative body of India’s private space sector, asserts that media reports on the flexible usage of satellite spectrum are an attempt to mislead. Lt Gen A K Bhatt (retd), the Director General of ISpA, states that the recent decision by the New Zealand government regarding the use of the 26 GHz spectrum band does not advocate for flexible usage. Rather, it emphasizes shared use and stipulates that the final decision will be made via consultations in 2026.

According to Bhatt, the private space industry in India is still in its early stages, and the recent achievements of the Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya L1 mission have greatly boosted its growth potential. He argues that, considering the government’s efforts to promote the Indian space economy and facilitate nation building, administrative allocation of satellite spectrum is necessary.

Bhatt highlights that the Department of Space and IN-SPACe have previously supported the administrative method of allocation, expressing concerns that auctioning satellite-based spectrum could stifle growth and hinder the innovation drive of startups and other private players in the space sector.

In conclusion, the debate over the flexible usage of satellite spectrum remains contentious, with conflicting opinions among telecom operators and industry representatives.