Starlink has now applied to the Indian National Space Promotion & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) to get clearances for setting up earth stations. The company’s license request with DoT for a GMPCS licence is pending.
Other players in the running are OneWeb, that has received all statutory approvals, including the vital landing rights and market access clearances, to launch its high-speed broadband-from-space services in India and Jio Satellite Communications Ltd (JSCL) has received the GMPCS licence from DoT. Nelco and Kuiper have yet to apply for regulatory approvals.
But here is a thing. The plan of Starlink to build its network across India is currently conflicting with Ambani’s Reliance. According to a Reuters report, the conflict between Elon Musk’s Starlink and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance over the distribution of satellite broadband spectrum in India is intensifying. On one side Starlink is advocating for the Indian government to assign licences for satellite broadband spectrum without conducting an auction, citing it as a natural resource that should be shared among companies. They argue that an auction could lead to geographical restrictions and increased costs.
On the other hand, Reliance disagrees and supports the idea of conducting an auction. It argues that foreign satellite service providers, including Starlink, could offer voice and data services, creating competition for traditional telecom players. Reliance believes that an auction is necessary to ensure a level playing field for all participants. Reliance reportedly continues to urge the Indian government to conduct an auction for satellite spectrum rather than complying with the demands of foreign companies.