According to top officials in the Department of Telecommunications, the spectrum allocated to Devas Multimedia to conduct trials of its broadband services is likely to be withdrawn soon. If that happens, Devas will have to apply for a full-fledged licence for spectrum usage. Devas had to apply for trial spectrum to conduct pilot studies for its services. Since ISRO is yet to launch the two satellites on which Devas has taken up capacity, the company does not yet have access to the spectrum that comes along with the transponders.

DoT officials argue that at a time when the government is looking to price all spectrum, it will be difficult for Devas Multimedia to get airwaves without making additional payments. The other option for the company is to use unlicensed spectrum in the 2400 Mhz band or 3300 Mhz band. But that can result in interference with the signals of other users. Even if Devas is ready to pay for spectrum, the question of the basis of the pricing will remain.

Although the company plans primarily to deploy satellite technology to offer broadband, it wants to use terrestrial spectrum for indoor and dense-area coverage. Right from 1995 it is the Department of Telecommunications that has decided who can use the airwaves to provide voice and data services. In the case of Devas Multimedia, the company has got into a partnership with ISRO — which would be perceived to be a backdoor entry into the broadband market.

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