Elon Musk’s Starlink to Apply for India Licence by End of January

Starlink plans to roll out Internet services in India by April and have 200,000 devices in the country by December 2022.

Elon Musk’s Starlink to Apply for India Licence by End of January

Starlink competitors include Amazon.com's Kuiper and OneWeb

Highlights
  • Starlink aims to have 200,000 devices in India by December 2022,
  • Starlink hopes to roll out its services by April
  • It expects 80 percent of these devices to be in rural areas

Starlink, the satellite internet division of billionaire Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX, will apply early next year for a commercial licence in India to provide broadband and other services, its country head said on Friday.

"We hope to have applied for a commercial license on or before 31st January, 2022 (unless we hit some major roadblock)," Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink Country Director, India at SpaceX said in a LinkedIn post.

If the company can roll out its services by April, it aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, it said in a presentation posted by Bhargava. The company has previously said it expects 80 percent of these devices to be in rural areas.

Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbit network to provide low-latency broadband internet services around the world, with a particular focus on remote areas that terrestrial internet infrastructure struggles to reach.

Its competitors include Amazon.com's Kuiper and OneWeb which is co-owned by the British government and India's Bharti Enterprises.

While Starlink has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India, it has not begun any services.

Even so, the Indian government, last week, advised people against subscribing to Starlink as it does not have a license to operate in the country. It also warned the company, ordering it to refrain from taking bookings and rendering services.

Starlink has stopped taking pre-orders for its devices, according to its website, citing "pending regulatory approval".

Last month the company registered a local unit, Starlink Satellite Communications Private Ltd, paving the way for it to begin doing business in the country.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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