SpaceX will launch satellite-based broadband services under its brand Startlink in India
SpaceX will also be seeking the Centre’s approval for market access and landing rights
The move will pit SpaceX against Bharti Group-backed OneWeb and Reliance Jio that are in the process of introducing satellite-based broadband services
Elon Musk-led SpaceX will reportedly soon approach the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to obtain global mobile personal communications by satellite services (GMPCS) licence in India.
The GMPCS licence is required to launch satellite-based broadband services in the country. SpaceX plans to launch the services under its brand Startlink.
“SpaceX will very shortly apply for a GMPCS licence to the Indian authorities to start satellite broadband services in the country,” the ET quoted a source as saying.
In September this year, Reliance Jio got approval from the DoT to initiate GMPCS services in the country, while OneWeb announced in July that it would soon roll out satellite-based broadband services.
SpaceX will also be seeking the Centre’s approval for market access and landing rights in India, the report said, adding that it will further seek the DoT’s approval to establish local gateways in the country.
For establishing satellite gateways and using global satellite bandwidth capacity in India, SpaceX will require the Indian National Space Promotion & Authorisation Centre’s (IN-SPACe) approval. IN-SPACe approves private investment in the Indian space sector.
Indian users currently cannot place pre-orders for availing satellite-based broadband services from Starlink’s website. “Starlink is not yet available in your area due to pending regulatory approval. As we receive approvals our coverage area will continue to expand, so please check back for future availability in your area,” a message on the website reads.
SpaceX first shared plans to launch its satellite-based internet broadband service in India in 2021. It had also begun allowing customers to place pre-orders (of satellite-based broadband services) at a price of $99 (nearly INR 7K).
However, the Broadband India Forum (BIF) raised concerns with the DoT regarding SpaceX pre-selling its Starlink satellite internet services without obtaining any licence. Following this, the DoT issued a notice to SpaceX asking to stop advertising its satellite-based internet services to Indian customers since the company did not have a GMPCS licence.