Elon Musk’s satellite internet project, Starlink, is expected to secure permission from the telecom ministry to offer services in India. A high-level meeting is scheduled for later this month to discuss Starlink’s proposal for a global mobile personal communication by satellite (GMPCS) services license. This development is significant for the future of the satellite internet project.
Reliance Jio and One Web, led by Sunil Mittal, have already obtained the GMPCS license in India. This license allows companies to offer satellite communication services in licensed areas, giving them a head start in establishing satellite internet services in the country.
The outcome of the meeting will determine Starlink’s next steps in India. However, the company will also need approval from various government departments and the Department of Space before it can start operations in the country.
In late 2021, the Telecom Ministry reprimanded Starlink for accepting advance payments without the necessary license. The ministry instructed Starlink to refund the money to the customers who had pre-ordered its services in India. Elon Musk defended Starlink’s importance in the country, particularly in remote villages with limited internet access. He stated that Starlink has the potential to provide valuable connectivity in these areas.
Starlink also urged the Indian government to allocate licenses based on the global trend, rather than through auctions. The company believes that the spectrum, a natural resource, should be shared by all companies to avoid geographical restrictions and higher costs.
The Indian government published this plea last month, highlighting the ongoing discussions and negotiations regarding Starlink’s operation in the country.