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Bharti group-backed OneWeb applies for Satcom licence

Bharti Enterprises-backed OneWeb has applied for a global mobile personal communication system (GMPCS) licence for providing satellite broadband services, Financial Express reported today. This move comes at a time when telecom operators and technology players continue to deliberate over the dynamics of satellite communication spectrum and whether it should be auctioned or allocated administratively.

OneWeb is a global communications company that aims to deliver broadband satellite Internet around the world through its fleet of LEO satellites.

The Financial Express report said while the licence can be granted to the company by the department of telecommunications (DoT) anytime, the spectrum will be allocated only once the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the government take a call on whether the airwaves are to be auctioned or administratively allocated.

The report said OneWeb plans to launch a total of 648 low earth orbit (Leo) satellites by June 2022 to construct a global satellite constellation that will provide enhanced broadband and other services to countries around the world.

The company, which is headquartered in London, currently operates 238 Leo satellites and is set to launch 36 more by the end of July. Following this launch, it will be able to launch services in Scandinavian countries, Alaska and some parts of Europe, the report added.

Partial service from OneWeb could be available over India by the year-end. Upon the completion of the Leo satellite constellation in June 2022, India and entire South Asia, including the Indian Ocean, is expected to have 24×7 service availability, Financial Express reported citing industry sources.

“OneWeb is in advance preparations to start laying the required infrastructure like ground stations in India to enable services,” the report said quoting a source.

OneWeb had launched a batch of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia last month. The latest launch took the tally of the company’s total in-orbit constellation to 218 satellites.

According to an Economic Times report, the satellites are manufactured by OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus based in Florida, that can produce two satellites a day.CNBCTV18

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