The Tata group and Canadian satellite communications services provider Telesat are in the process of finalising their strategy to take a slice of the satellite broadband market as the Centre is set to announce its policy for allowing private players in the segment.

There is a growing interest in this market from other big players including Elon Musk’s Starlink, Jeff Bezos’s Project Kuiper and Sunil Bharti Mittal-backed One Web.

Tata group entity Nelco had announced a partnership with Telesat in September 2020 with an aim to offer enterprise broadband services based on Telesat’ s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. Over the last 10 months, the two sides have been working on a plan to roll out services in India once the government announces the policy.

“Telesat and Nelco are in the process of finalising their commercial offerings across enterprise market segments, which are subject to the appropriate regulatory approvals. The market requirements are different for various segments and those are being jointly analysed,” PJ Nath, Managing Director & CEO at Nelco Limited, told BusinessLine . “Together, we await the new Spacecom policy announcement which will help to further fine-tune and finalise our offerings in the country,” he added.

LEO-satellite concepts

Laura Roberti, Spectrum and Market Access Director at Telesat, said the Canadian company is also exploring other local partnerships with Indian companies for the terrestrial connectivity of its LEO network. Through these partnerships, Telesat aims to explore site locations for gateway landing stations and Points of Presence in India. The new LEO-satellite concepts, which orbit 500-2,000 km from Earth, offer faster communications because they have lower latency and often provide higher bandwidth per user than the current running Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellites that offer broadband services.

Spectrum auctions?

Weighing in on the ongoing debate regarding whether satellite spectrum should be auctioned like its terrestrial counterparts, Roberti said, “Spectrum assignment by auction is not suitable for microwave spectrum that will be used for satellite service provision. This would, amongst other things, lead to inefficient spectrum use.

“There is no precedent for spectrum assignment by auction for satellite services in these frequency bands.”