The government will allocate spectrum without auction to satellite services companies only for point-to-point connection and not for direct transmission of services to retail consumers, sources said on Tuesday.
The Telecommunications Bill, 2023 has proposed allocation of spectrum to satellite communication companies through the administrative method which means without auction.
"The administrative allocation of spectrum to satellite companies will be for point-to-point connection only. If they will provide services like access service providers (mobile operators), then allocation will be through auction," a source who did not wish to be identified, said.
He said the government will be open to amend the telecommunications law as per market dynamics and requirements.
Satellite players have opposed allocation of spectrum to them through auction as the same set of frequencies are used by other players and the radiowaves cannot be exclusively owned by one company like it is in the case of mobile operators.
While telecom operators Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have opposed allocation of spectrum for commercial communications without auction.
The source said that administrative allocation of spectrum to satellite players will be "in cases where auction of spectrum is not the preferred mode of assignment due to technical or economic reasons" as per the Telecommunications Bill 2023 and it is not possible for the spectrum which has to be re-used by other operators for connecting their earth station.
Satellite players require a very small amount of spectrum to connect to earth stations and only in small areas. The same frequency can be reused or assigned to other players for providing other communication services.
In case the satellite players start providing services on multiple terminals similar to mobile operators transmitting signals directly to mobile phones for communication then the spectrum will be allocated to them through auction.