Government officials have revealed that Elon Musk’s Starlink may soon receive approval for its voice and data communication services in India. The approval is contingent upon a security check, after which Starlink will be granted a global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS) license.
Initially, Starlink had proposed that it would follow international data transfer and storage norms due to its global positioning. However, Indian authorities rejected this proposal. In order to obtain an Indian license, Starlink has now agreed to comply with the requirement of locally storing data.
Once approved, the GMPCS license will allow Starlink to offer messaging services, voice services, and broadband to individuals and organizations in India. This will make Starlink the third satellite communications (satcom) company to receive the license, following Reliance Jio and One Web.
Before receiving the license, Starlink must obtain approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the space regulator, and spectrum allotment from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The government is awaiting recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the division of satcom spectrum.
In late 2021, Starlink faced criticism from the Telecom Ministry for accepting advance payments from subscribers without having obtained the license. The Ministry instructed Starlink to refund the money to approximately 5,000 customers who had pre-ordered its services in India.