India may soon get Starlink’s broadband-from-space services. Elon Musk’s satcom company SpaceX has reportedly applied to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for a license for global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS), according to a report in ET.
“SpaceX had earlier applied for an experimental license but withdrew it later. They have now applied for a GMPCS licence.”
Bharti Group-backed OneWeb and Reliance Jio have already received DoT’s approval for GMPCS licences. SpaceX applied for the licence last week.
Tata Group’s Nelco and Canada’s Telesat have completed the proof of concept (POC) but they have not applied for the licence yet.
SpaceX started accepting pre-launch orders from India in 2021. But after DoT’s orders to seek regulatory permissions first, the company had to return the pre-booking money.
With a thumbs up from the DoT, Starlink will have to complete several requirements before launching Starlink services in India. It will have to set up in-country earth stations and deploy global satellite bandwidth capacity in India.
The approvals for setting up the earth stations will come from the Indian National Space Promotion & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe). It is the regulatory body in India with a primary aim to attract private capital into the space sector.
However, experts said that these private satellite services will only launch in India once they receive clarity over the new space communications policy. The DoT has sought recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for the same. Business standard