Tech

Musk’s Starlink to apply for a license in India by the end of January

FILE PHOTO: Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona
FILE PHOTO: SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks on screen during Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, ​​Spain, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Nacho Doce / File Photo

December 3, 2021

By Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Starlink, the satellite internet division of billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX, will apply for a commercial license in India early next year to offer broadband and services another, the country’s head said on Friday.

“We expect to apply for a commercial license on or before January 31, 2022 (unless we face some major hurdles),” said Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink India Country Manager at SpaceX said in a LinkedIn post.

If the company can launch 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. Earlier, the company said it expected 80% 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 service around the world, with a particular focus on regions remote places where internet infrastructure on the ground is hard to reach.

Its competitors include Amazon.com’s Kuiper and OneWeb co-owned by the UK government and India’s Bharti Enterprises.

Although Starlink has received more than 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India, it has yet to start any services.

Even so, the Indian government last week advised people not to sign up for Starlink because it does not have a license to operate in the country. It also alerts the company, asks the company to refuse to take bookings and shows the service.

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

Last month, the company registered a local entity, Starlink Satellite Communications Private Ltd, paving the way for starting a business in the country.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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Caroline Bleakley

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