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Devas-Antrix Deal

Devas-Antrix Deal:

The controversial deal between Indian Department of Space’s commercial entity Antrix and Bengaluru-based startup Devas Multimedia has been under the scanner for more than a decade now.

  • The International Telecommunication Union granted India S-band spectrum in the 1970s.
  • Handing Over of Spectrum to ISRO: By 2003, there was a fear that the spectrum would be lost if not used effectively;
    • 40 MHz of S-band was given to the Department of Telecom (DoT) for terrestrial use.
    • 70 Mhz was to be put to efficiently used by the Department of Space (DoS) or in effect to be used by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • Global Negotiations for Growth of Communication Systems: Initially, an MoU was signed by Forge (a US Consultancy) and Antrix in July 2003 for use of the satellite spectrum for the growth of communication systems in India, but later a start-up was envisaged, and Devas Multimedia was floated.
  • Following this, Devas Multimedia was able to attract foreign investors.
  • In 2005, the deal was signed to provide multimedia services to mobile users using the leased S-band satellite spectrum.
  • Under the deal, ISRO would lease to Devas two communication satellites (GSAT-6 and 6A) for 12 years.
  • In return, Devas would provide multimedia services to mobile platforms in India using S-band transponders on the satellites.
  • As a result of the deal, Devas introduced and utilised technologies like never before and was a huge revenue generator for Antrix.
  • The deal was cancelled in 2011 on the ground that the auction of the broadband spectrum was mired in fraud