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Report: Department of Telecommunications seeks clarification on Amazon’s sat com application

When approached for a comment, the company noted that it looked forward to “working with the Indian government and local partners to connect customers and communities across the country.”

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is seeking clarifying information from Amazon on its satellite communication license application, the Economic Times reported. According to the report, the government is analyzing the application of Amazon’s satellite communication project Kuiper for a global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS) permit. This will allow the company to offer broadband, voice, and messaging services in India. 

It was previously reported that the company was seeking approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) to offer broadband-from-space services in the country. 

Amazon’s response to reports suggesting its entry in the Indian market:

When we reached out to Amazon to confirm its plans, it responded by saying that it aims to provide satellite broadband services in underserved communities around the world, including rural and remote places in India. While the company never confirmed or denied its application for satellite services, it said that it looked forward to, “working with the Indian government and local partners to connect customers and communities across the country.”

We have further reached out to the company to seek updates on its application process. 

Auction vs administrative allocation of spectrum:

Amazon is not the only foreign player vying for the Indian market, as SpaceX is also interested in offering broadband services in the country. Both these companies have made filings responding to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation on space-based communication. Both companies have encouraged the regulator to use administrative assignment as the method for allocating satellite spectrum and say that using the auction process that is currently in place for spectrum auctions would artificially restrict competition in the satellite communication sector with spectrum access being limited to only those that make the highest bid. 

One of India’s biggest telecom companies, Reliance Jio, is also making moves to enter the satellite market. However, unlike Amazon and Space X, the company is demanding spectrum auctions. Given the competition concerns raised by Amazon and Space X, one is left to wonder whether the reason Jio is suggesting auctions is to maintain its dominant market position as satellite broadband services start being rolled out in the country. 

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