Elon Musk’s satellite internet service provider, Starlink, is on the verge of gaining approval to offer satellite-based voice and data services in India. The Indian government has expressed satisfaction with Starlink’s compliance with data storage and transfer regulations, which is a crucial step in obtaining the necessary licenses for satellite operations.
If approved, Starlink will become the third company to receive a license to provide Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite Services (GMPCS) in India, following OneWeb and Reliance Jio’s satellite communications division. However, satellite communication providers in India must also obtain approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe), the autonomous space regulator.
Starlink, a subsidiary of SpaceX, has rapidly expanded its global presence since its establishment in 2019. The service is now available in over 60 countries across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and some regions around Australia. With the launch of over 4600 satellites, Starlink provides internet connectivity to remote areas around the world.
In India, Starlink will face competition from companies like Amazon, Reliance Jio, and Airtel OneWeb, who are also venturing into the satellite internet market. The growth in satellite internet services is expected to bridge the digital divide, particularly in rural areas where traditional broadband connectivity is limited.
Satellite internet services have the potential to reach hard-to-access areas across India, as they only require a small receiver antenna. Each base station receiver can serve multiple broadband connections, making it a viable solution for areas with limited infrastructure. Starlink offers speeds of up to 300Mbps, and as they continue to expand their satellite network, higher speeds are expected.
The Indian government is currently awaiting recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on the allocation of radio frequencies for satellite services. This marks SpaceX’s second attempt to establish a presence in the Indian satellite communication market. The approval and successful launch of Starlink’s services in India would further strengthen its global position as a leading satellite internet provider.