This statement from DoT deals a blow to Starlink, the satellite broadband subsidiary of the billionaire-led SpaceX and leaves the company without any official support in India. However, it has already started taking pre-orders for satellite broadband services and is optimistic about its prospects in India.
The government has warned the public against subscribing to Starlink, an internet service that does not have a license from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
It also asks Starlink to abide by the regulatory framework for satellite-based communication services and refrain from providing any type of internet service in India until further notice.
When Musk last spoke publicly about the India plans for Starlink, he answered a question on Twitter. He said “just figuring out the regulatory approval process”
Just figuring out the regulatory approval process— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 31, 2021
The Department of Telecommunications has made it clear that you should “obtain a license before offering satellite-based services”
The Govt department noticed that Starlink is starting up their pre-selling/booking of a satellite-based internet service in India.
This is also easy to see on the Starlink website. They claim to offer satellite-based internet services in Indian territory, according to the Department of Telecom’s records.
“The Department of Telecom, a branch of the Ministry of Communications, Government of India has pointed out that Starlink Internet Services is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India.”, propagating to the public.
To offer satellite-based services in India, you’ll need permission from the government.
As of this notice, it is hereby notified that the said company has not obtained any license/authorization for providing satellite-based internet services which are being subscribed via their website.
The public is advised not to subscribe to Starlink as it’s not a licensed supplier.
The statement by DoT has a serious impact on the revenue of Elon Musk-led Space, which specializes in satellite broadband. They have been aggressive about their India plans and recently started taking pre-orders for their services.
The company is focusing on India by announcing plans to start with the Broadband service there in December 2022, which will be comprised of 2 lakh active terminals. The government has yet to give explicit permission for this
Earlier in a social media post, Starlink country director in India, Sanjay Bhargava said that pre-orders from India have crossed 5,000 and the company is keen to work in rural areas for providing broadband services.
The company’s services will compete with that of Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea in broadband and it will be a direct competitor to the Bharti Group-backed OneWeb.