The Government of India has asked Google to choose a telecom partner for testing Project Loon in the country. An official told PTI, “Google wants to test the Loon Project in expensive and scarce spectrum bands. It has been asked to partner with any telecom operator that can meet its requirement and then approach the government for testing Loon.” He added that if Google wishes to conduct a test in partnership with state-owned BSNL, it can carry out the experiment in the spectrum held by the company.
Google is planning to setup Project Loon in India and the company had an in-principle agreement with the Government of India after CEO, Sundar Pichai’s visit to the country. However, the company wishes to conduct the test in 700MHz or 800MHz band instead of the 2500MHz band held by BSNL. The 700MHz band is the most expensive and efficient for telecom services and hasn’t been allocated to a telecom operator yet. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested including the spectrum in the upcoming spectrum auction at a minimum price of Rs. 11,485 crore with operators having to buy a minimum of 5MHz.