TRAI issues recommendations for satellite-based IoT

27 Aug 2021

Sector watchdog the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has published its recommendations on the licensing framework for the use of satellite connectivity for IoT services and other low bit rate applications. Following consultation with industry stakeholders, the TRAI has proposed a broad framework that would impose few restrictions with the intention of facilitating different business models and network topologies. To that end, the TRAI has recommended that licensees be permitted to use any kind of network topology model and that all types of satellite (i.e. geostationary orbit and non-geostationary orbit) may be used for low bit rate connectivity. Regarding licensing, the TRAI recommended that existing authorisations under the Unified Licensing framework may be amended to enable satellite-based low bit rate connectivity, and that the scope of other types of authorisation – such as for Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite (GMPCS) services – should be similarly amended. Licensees should also be permitted to obtain bandwidth from government-approved foreign satellites – albeit with some additional conditions. To assist with planning and capacity procurement, the government should also provide a roadmap detailing the scheduled launch dates for communication satellites, and the availability of domestic satellite capacity. Finally, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) should establish a common online portal for all agencies involved in the grant of various relevant approvals and allocations, through which licensees can submit requests, with the authorities required to respond in a transparent and time bound manner.

India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)