OneWeb India, the local subsidiary of Eutelsat OneWeb, has been granted approval by India’s newly established space regulatory body to launch its commercial satellite broadband services in the country. This makes OneWeb India the first organization to receive authorization to provide satellite broadband services in India, ahead of SpaceX’s Starlink and Reliance’s JioSpaceFiber. However, the launch is still pending spectrum allocation by the Indian government.
Earlier this month, OneWeb and JioSpaceFiber obtained licenses from the Indian telecom ministry to offer broadband services through satellite connectivity in the country. OneWeb has also received in-principle approval to set up two gateways in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, with the aim of providing high-speed, low-latency internet connection to customers across India.
Bharti Airtel, the second-largest wireless network provider in India and still a partial owner of OneWeb, sees satellite-based internet as a way to reduce data costs in the country. Bharti Group Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal expressed satisfaction with the space regulator’s approval and stated that Eutelsat OneWeb is ready to launch its commercial services as soon as it receives final spectrum authorization.
In addition to OneWeb and Jio, SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper are also looking to enter the Indian market with their satellite broadband services. While Starlink has registered its local business in India, it has not yet received the license to operate. Amazon, on the other hand, has hired a local executive and is exploring opportunities to expand Project Kuiper in the country.
The approval given to OneWeb India by the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) underscores the competitiveness of the space industry in Asia. Historically, India’s space sector has been government-driven, but the introduction of the Indian Space Policy in 2023 aims to encourage private sector involvement and boost the country’s presence in the global space economy.
The government’s push for advancements in the space sector, coupled with the progress made by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), has attracted investors seeking opportunities to support local space companies.