India’s leading telecommunications company, Reliance Jio, has urged for a level playing field in the spectrum allocation process and policy for satellite-based communications (satcom) and terrestrial networks. According to a senior executive at Reliance Jio, the services delivered by both technologies are essentially the same, catering to the same devices and customers.
Jio’s President, Mathew Oommen, emphasized that satcom has evolved significantly from its traditional role of VSAT backhaul. With new advancements, satcom now has the capability to provide similar services as terrestrial networks, adhering to the same 3GPP standard. As a result, Oommen questioned whether the spectrum policy and allocation process should differ for satcom.
Furthermore, Oommen highlighted the coexistence of satellite-based communication with 5G and future 6G technologies in India. Reliance Jio aims to be a competitive player in the satcom space, leveraging its partnership with SES and accessing medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite technology. This technology enables the delivery of gigabit, fiber-like services from space while enhancing the capacity for mobile backhaul, improving the availability of Jio’s 5G network in remote areas.
Jio also introduced plans to launch JioSpaceFiber, India’s first satellite-based giga-fibre service, to provide high-speed broadband connectivity in inaccessible regions. This service will be made available across the country at affordable prices.
Regarding the demand from Indian telecom operators for a fair contribution from over-the-top (OTT) players, Oommen acknowledged the disproportionate amount of traffic these players generate on the operator’s network. While Jio has not approached anyone directly, Oommen believes that the industry and regulators should collaboratively address this issue to create a balanced business environment.
Moreover, Oommen suggested utilizing the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund to facilitate the transition from 2G to 4G or 5G handsets in India. With Rs 76,000 crores currently available in the USO Fund, there is an opportunity to ensure an inclusive digital vision that benefits all segments of society.
In conclusion, Reliance Jio advocates for equal treatment of satcom and terrestrial networks in India, emphasizing their similarities in services provided and customer base. The company aims to leverage satellite technology to enhance its network capabilities and bridge the digital divide across the country. Collaborative efforts between industry and regulators are essential to create a fair and inclusive telecommunications landscape in India. TS2