India’s OneWeb has become the first organization to receive approval from the country’s space regulatory body, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), to launch its commercial satellite broadband services in the nation. This development puts OneWeb ahead of competitors such as SpaceX’s Starlink and Reliance’s JioSpaceFiber in the race to provide satellite-based internet connectivity to the world’s second-largest internet user market.
While OneWeb’s authorization is a significant step forward, the launch is contingent upon spectrum allocation by the Indian government, which has yet to take place. However, the company has already received in-principle approval to establish two gateways in the states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, aiming to deliver high-speed, low-latency internet connectivity to customers across India.
The entry of OneWeb into the Indian market has garnered attention from industry players like Bharti Airtel, which holds a significant stake in the company. Bharti Airtel’s executive sees the potential of satellite-beamed internet to reduce data costs in the country.
As OneWeb already has a fully functional low-earth orbit (LEO) constellation and plans for global coverage by January 2024, its services have significant growth potential. Bharti Enterprises’ vice-chairman, Akhil Gupta, believes that satellites will be complementary to terrestrial connections and foresees every smartphone having an in-built satellite connection in the future.
The approval from IN-SPACe has set OneWeb on a path to deploy its satellite broadband services once it receives the final spectrum authorization from the Indian government.
Q: How does OneWeb’s approval impact the satellite broadband market in India?
A: OneWeb’s approval positions the company as the frontrunner in the race to provide satellite broadband services in India, surpassing competitors like SpaceX’s Starlink and Reliance’s JioSpaceFiber.
Q: What are the potential benefits of satellite-beamed internet in India?
A: Satellite-beamed internet has the potential to reduce data costs in the country and provide high-speed, low-latency connectivity to customers across India, including in remote areas.
Q: What is the timeline for OneWeb’s launch of commercial satellite broadband services in India?
A: OneWeb’s launch is subject to spectrum allocation by the Indian government, which is yet to take place. The company has already received in-principle approval and aims to deploy its services once it receives the final spectrum authorization.
Q: How does Bharti Airtel see the role of satellite connections in the future?
A: Bharti Airtel considers satellite connections to be complementary to terrestrial connections and envisions every smartphone having an in-built satellite connection in the medium-term. This can potentially help reduce the cost per gigabyte for operators.