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Jio and Airtel are closely tracking Elon Musk’s visit to India this month

Tesla may not be the only thing on Elon Musk’s mind when he lands in India this month. The billionaire is likely to announce plans to start Starlink, an affordable satellite-based internet service offered by Musk-run aerospace company SpaceX, in India.

Regulatory approvals for Starlink licence are at an advanced stage. Starlink has close to 92 crore broadband subscribers, according to the latest data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel currently lead the broadband market, followed by Vodafone Idea and BSNL.

The government in December last year passed The Telecommunications Bill 2023 which allows spectrum allocation for satellite-based services without the need to participate in auctions. The move favours companies such as OneWeb, Musk’s Starlink and Amazon’s Kuiper.

According to experts, India’s digital economy is experiencing a period of significant growth momentum.

“The potential arrival of Starlink, coinciding with Musk’s visit, could serve as a further catalyst for India’s thriving digital economy,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told new agency IANS.

All Starlink subscription plans include unlimited high-speed data on land with no long-term contracts or commitments. Starlink users can get download speeds up to 220 Mbps, with most of them receiving speeds of over 100 Mbps.

The cost of Starlink services in India is not known as of now. In the US, the basic Starlink Wi-Fi for homes in rural areas is $120 per month for unlimited internet sans contract. There are other data plans as well. Musk’s India visit is likely to last around 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu is pulling out all stops to pitch itself as a manufacturing site for Tesla as speculation builds about the US company’s planned investments ahead of billionaire Elon Musk’s visit.

“Tamil Nadu will be pitching for all opportunities of electric vehicle manufacturing from all global car majors,” T. R. B Rajaa, the state’s minister for industries said, when asked if Tesla was on his radar. He added that the province, often called the Detroit of India for its automaking prowess, has country’s “best electric vehicle policies and ecosystem.” BusinessToday

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