The satellite internet connectivity game in the country has just started where global players such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and OneWeb backed by Sunil Mittal are trying to capture a share of the fastest growing data consumption market in the world. world. Tata group company Nelco is said to be in advanced talks with Canadian company Telesat to launch broadband satellite services in India.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX will soon apply to the Indian government for a license to launch its Starlink satellite broadband services in the country and aims to reach 200,000 active terminals by December 2022, its new Indian chief Sanjay Bhargava said.
SpaceX has accepted pre-orders for the beta of its Starlink satellite internet service in India for a fully refundable deposit of $ 99 and has already received 5,000 pre-orders.
Telecom Watchdog, a consumer forum, alleged in a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that Starlink was cheating consumers in India by accepting deposits of $ 99 for its satellite internet service without even a license. The telecommunications NGO, in fact, called on the DoT to take “immediate action to stop” Starlink’s alleged illegal activities.
OneWeb has already announced plans to launch satellite services in India by next year and has received a national long distance (NLD) license from the telecommunications department.
No wonder the satellite communications equipment (satcom) market is expected to grow from $ 22 billion in 2021 to $ 53.7 billion in 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.6% and that will be driven by the commercial segment, according to a report from Research And Markets.
The deployment of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and the constellation of satellites has increased the demand for satcom equipment around the world. Other factors include the growing demand for Ku-band and Ka-band satellites and the growing fleet of autonomous and connected vehicles that require custom satcom antennas on the move, the global research company said. However, with us there are many issues that need to be resolved. be approached.
The telecommunications department is likely to seek clarification from the Supreme Court on whether to auction satellite spectrum or administer it, in the context of the 2012 judgment. Few players are against the auction. spectrum by saying that there is no reason for it when a group of actors want the government to go through the auction process as is the case with telecommunications spectrum.
Another problem that is brewing is the mmWave (millimeter wave) band in the 28 GHz frequency range for the broadband space services that the satellite communication organization wishes to reserve for them. In a letter to Minister of Telecommunications Ashwini Vaishnaw, Indian President of the Satellite Industry Association (SIA) Subba Rao Pavuluri said: âThe Indian public interest is best served by placing millimeter wave 5G in the 24.25 band. -27.5 GHz harmonized globally by ITU for 5G / IMT-2020 and preserving 27.5-29.5 GHz for broadband satellite services. “
Telecoms 2.0 reforms and spectrum auctions
In an interview with ET, Vaishnav said through the first round of reforms, we have tried to address the root cause of the issues that are restricting the telecommunications industry and to give time and space for the industry to recover. The government will present the next round of reforms that will further stimulate growth in the sector.
The government recently announced a reform program for the telecommunications sector to ease financial strains in the sector, which included a four-year moratorium on spectrum and Adjusted Gross Income (AGR) payment.
The process for the next round of auctions, including 5G spectrum, was started by the telecoms department which requested a reference from telecoms regulator Trai to seek new base prices for 700 MHz, 3.3- 3.6 GHz and the coveted millimeter waves such as 26 GHz and 28 GHz supporting 5G technology.
However, the government could miss its January-March schedule to auction off 4G and 5G waves, unless the telecommunications regulator sends out its pricing recommendations by November. If there is a delay, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will proceed with the sale of 5G later in 2022, but may not wait until the fourth quarter of next fiscal year.
Weeks after the back-up plan, the Ministry of Telecommunications (DoT) notified Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel to pay Rs 3,050 crore in cumulative penalties within three weeks for violating license conditions by denying Reliance Jio points adequate interconnection (PoI) in 2016, which affected the quality of services.
Operators had fought a fierce battle over the issue of points of interest. In October 2016, Trai ruled that the actions of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea appeared to be aimed at stifling competition, were anti-consumer and contrary to the public interest. This time, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had rejected Trai’s conclusions, claiming they hadn’t broken any rules. Vodafone had moved the Supreme Court against Trai’s recommendations. The case is ongoing.
However, semiconductor shortage may impact telecommunications services
Consumers could face a decline in the quality of mobile broadband services in the coming months, as essential 4G network equipment such as routers, base stations and backhaul infrastructure equipment, which use semiconductors, could be faced with a shortage delaying the capacity expansion plans of telecommunications players. This can lead to network congestion in the short term.
Good or bad, the telecommunications sector will continue to be active in the coming months.