Reports suggest that Elon Musk’s company, Starlink, is likely to obtain approval from the telecom ministry to start offering its services in India. The approval is expected to be discussed in a high-level meeting scheduled for later this month. While there may be potential delays, the meeting is expected to grant approval to Starlink’s proposal for a global mobile personal communication by satellite (GMPCS) services license.
It is worth noting that Reliance Jio and One Web, owned by Sunil Mittal, have already obtained the GMPCS license in India. However, apart from the GMPCS license, Starlink will also need to receive approval from various government departments and the Department of Space before it can launch its operations in the country.
In late 2021, the Telecom Ministry reprimanded Starlink for accepting advance payments from subscribers before obtaining the necessary license. The ministry requested Starlink to refund the money to approximately 5,000 customers who had pre-ordered the services in India.
Elon Musk, following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed that Starlink could be incredibly beneficial in remote villages in India that currently lack internet access or high-speed services. Starlink has been urging the Indian government to assign licenses rather than conduct an auction for the spectrum. The company believes that the spectrum is a natural resource that should be shared, and an auction would result in geographical restrictions and increased costs.
In conclusion, once the necessary approvals are granted, Starlink will be able to provide its services in India, potentially bridging the digital divide in remote areas and expanding internet access across the country.