NEW DELHI: Even as telecom players and technology companies deliberate whether satellite communications spectrum should be auctioned or allocated administratively– Bharti-backed OneWeb has submitted its application for a global mobile personal communication (GMPCS) license for providing satellite broadband services, as per a Financial Express report.
It is to be noted that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) can grant the license anytime, but the spectrum can only be allocated once the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and the Central government reach an agreement on whether the spectrum needs to be auctioned or allocated administratively.
The London-headquartered company plans to launch a total of 648 low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites to form a satellite constellation that will provide broadband and other services globally.
It plans to roll out satellite internet in India by mid-2022.
“OneWeb is in advance preparations to start laying the required infrastructure like ground stations in India to enable services,” the publication cited a source familiar with the matter. The Sunil Mittal-led marked its entry into satellite business in November 2020.
Currently, OneWeb has 238 operational LEO satellites and another 36 will be launched by this month-end which will allow it to provide satellite broadband in 50-degree north of latitude in Scandinavian countries, Alaska, and parts of Europe.
Apart from OneWeb, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Amazon, Hughes, and US’ Viasat have shown interest in offering satellite-based broadband services in India but they are yet to apply for a license.
Hughes previously told ET that its investment proposal to launch a high throughput satellite in India for affordable broadband services, originally submitted in 2016 by Hughes Communications, has been stuck since then due to bureaucratic reasons.
Furthermore, telcos like Jio and Vodafone Idea (Vi) have called for spectrum allocation for Satcom services, while Bharti Airtel is yet to take a categorical stance on the issue of allocation of spectrum.
On the other hand, technology companies represented by Broadband India Forum (BIF) opine that auctioning “makes no sense”.