Bharti Group-backed OneWeb and Reliance Jio’s satcom arm have been granted GMPCS licences by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Starlink is the third company that has applied for a licence to offer satcom services in the Indian market.
Foreign entities are now allowed to set up infrastructure and offer satellite services in India, pending approval from IN-SPACe. IN-SPACe is an autonomous central regulatory body empowered by India’s new Space Policy 2023 to act as a single-window agency to authorize space activities for both government and private satcom players.
If Starlink, a subsidiary of SpaceX, receives approval, it will need to wait for spectrum allocation by DoT. OneWeb and Reliance Jio’s satellite arm are already on the waitlist for airwaves. Amazon’s Project Kuiper has also shown interest in providing fast broadband services in India using satellites.
This is SpaceX’s second attempt to enter the Indian market. Last year, the company was required to return pre-booking money to applicants after the DoT requested regulatory approvals. Since then, SpaceX has reapplied for these approvals.
Companies are eager to launch their services quickly to gain a first-mover advantage. While the satellite communications market in India is still in its early stages, it holds significant potential, particularly in rural and remote areas. According to an EY-ISpA report, India’s space economy is projected to reach $13 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%.