Eutelsat OneWeb, a subsidiary of Eutelsat, has received approval from India’s space regulator to launch commercial satellite broadband services in the country. The Indian government, under Prime Minister Modi, is focused on developing India’s space industry. This push has led to an increase in space startups, with the number rising from 21 to 47 in just one year after India allowed private launches in 2020.
Investors have shown significant interest in Indian space startups, investing $119 million in 2022 alone. This is a drastic increase from the total of $38 million invested in previous years up to 2017. These investors see India as a cost-effective alternative to European launchers, as well as an attractive manufacturing hub.
Eutelsat OneWeb is ready to deploy their satellite broadband services as soon as they receive the final spectrum authorization. The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre has granted them approval for a period of five years.
Eutelsat OneWeb is backed by Indian billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises. Mittal also runs Airtel, India’s second-largest telecom carrier. In partnership with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), OneWeb plans to launch 36 satellites.
Currently, India only holds a 2% share of the $400 billion global commercial space market. However, the Indian government aims to increase its market share to $40 billion by 2040.
There is competition in the satellite broadband sector in India, with Elon Musk’s Starlink and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance at odds over satellite broadband spectrum distribution. Amazon’s Project Kuiper is also reportedly in talks with regulators to offer satellite broadband services in India.
India’s approval of Eutelsat OneWeb’s satellite broadband services reflects the government’s commitment to developing the country’s space industry and expanding its presence in the global commercial space market.