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TRAI Recommendation On Satcom Spectrum, Other Subjects After Chairperson Appointment

TRAI awaits a new chairperson for recommendations on satellite spectrum allocation and other pending matters, vacant since 1 October.

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is waiting for a new chairperson to be appointed before issuing its recommendation on satellite spectrum allocation methodology and other pending matters. 

The position of Trai chairperson has been vacant since 1 October, when the tenure of P D Vaghela ended in September. Meenakshi Gupta, a Trai member, is currently handling the additional charge of the regulatory body.

A senior Trai official said that the chairperson will decide on the recommendation, although the official added that they are almost ready with recommendations on satellite spectrum allocation. The Department of Telecom had invited applications for the post in June and the last date for the same was in August. 

The DoT has granted internet service provider and GMPCS licence to Bharti group-backed OneWeb and Jio Satellite Communications. Both companies can provide internet services by connecting satellite service with terrestrial networks or through VSAT to end customers. 

Satellite communication companies are ready to provide direct satellite services to terminals or on mobile devices of end customers in India, but they need spectrum for transmitting signals. 

Bharti Group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal last month said that OneWeb is ready to start services for end customers within a month. Satellite companies want spectrum to be allocated to them without auction, but Jio and Vodafone Idea have been opposing their demand. 

Trai is working on several key subjects including the framework for the allocation of spectrum in E and V bands where telecom players and internet companies have been at loggerheads over methods to allocate spectrum. At present, eight consultation papers are open and Trai has been extending timelines for submission of comments from stakeholders.

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