Starlink, the satellite internet arm of SpaceX owned by Elon Musk, recorded its activity in India on November 1, according to an Al Jazeera report. The company, Starlink Satellite Communications Private Limited, will now be able to apply for licenses and open bank accounts in the country, the report adds.
A local unit is required before the business can begin providing broadband communications and other satellite communications services. Starlink, if and when licensed, plans to offer 2,000,000 active terminals in over 1,60,000 districts by December 2022, TechCrunch wrote. The company, in August, shipped 100,000 user terminals in 14 countries.
Starlink is a company that operates small satellites, launched into space to form a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) network, which provides low latency high speed internet services around the world, focusing on difficult remote areas access by land. Some of its competitors include Project Kuiper and Amazon’s OneWeb, with stakes owned by the UK government and Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises.
The idea of using satellites to provide broadband services is likely to get a boost with this announcement. The move implies that Starlink will soon be able to start providing its services, which could reduce the costs of providing broadband in rural areas without a terrestrial internet connection and thereby make the industry more competitive.
What are Starlink’s plans for India?
Starlink intends to enter the telecommunications services industry, including high-speed satellite Internet services, content storage and delivery, multimedia communication, among others, Al Jazeera said. “It will also deal with devices such as satellite phones, network equipment, wired and wireless communication devices, as well as data transmission and reception equipment, ”Al Jazeera said in its report.
Starlink will provide, in a first phase, 100 devices free of charge to schools in Delhi and neighboring rural districts. It will then target 12 rural districts across India. Starlink has more than 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India, according to Economic Times.
The company first got involved Sanjay Bhargava as its leader from India. It was SpaceX’s most direct signal that it was serious about making the necessary arrangements to enter the country.
What are Starlink’s rivals doing?
OneWeb, backed by Bharti, and satellite company Hughes have also been eyeing the Indian market. OneWeb has applied for two licenses, a National Long Distance License (NLD) and a Global Mobile Personal Communication Satellite (GMPCS) license, ET said in its report.
The satcom company received a letter of intent (LoI) for NLD via satellite. However, it has yet to receive a GMPCS license, ET revealed.
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