Jio Satellite Communications Ltd and Eutelsat OneWeb have obtained the necessary licenses to offer satellite internet services in India. Both companies hold the GMPCS (Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite) license, as well as a pan-India ISP (Internet Service Provider) license.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has allocated the ISP-A and VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) license to OneWeb, while Jio secured the ISP license in October. However, both companies face a significant challenge regarding the allocation process of the satellite spectrum. There are differing opinions within the government on whether the spectrum should be administratively allocated or through an auction.
Jio showcased JioSpaceFiber at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2023, while Eutelsat OneWeb’s solutions were featured at Airtel’s booth. These companies are expected to be the first to launch satellite internet services in India, with a focus on enterprises rather than consumers.
Amazon and Starlink are also in the process of obtaining the GMPCS license in India, with Starlink anticipated to secure it soon. Starlink, owned by Elon Musk, is already operational in various countries, providing seamless internet services via satellites. However, Starlink faced setbacks in India when it attempted to sell pre-bookings without the necessary licenses. Authorities instructed Starlink to refund customers and halt pre-booking sales until the proper licenses were acquired.
The ISP license and GMPCS license are distinct authorizations granted by regulatory bodies. The ISP license allows companies to offer internet services, including connectivity, bandwidth, email hosting, website hosting, and virtual private networks (VPNs). On the other hand, the GMPCS license focuses on satellite-based mobile communication services on a global scale, enabling mobile voice and data communication through satellite connections, particularly in remote or mobile environments where terrestrial networks are inaccessible or impractical.