Earlier, Starlink’s submissions failed to meet the government’s requirements, prompting the need for definite answers regarding data storage and transfer. The company initially stated that it would adhere to international norms, considering its global constellation. However, the Indian government insisted on compliance with Indian rules. Starlink has now agreed to store data in India as per the government’s request, the official said.
At the time of going to press, Starlink had not responded to an inquiry regarding its submission to the Indian government.If approved, Starlink will become the third company, following OneWeb (backed by Sunil Mittal’s Bharti) and Reliance Jio‘s satcom arm, to receive a GMPCS license.
Amazon, led by Jeff Bezos, has also applied for a license but is yet to have its application reviewed. Approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the autonomous space regulator, is also required for satcom service providers. The companies must subsequently wait for spectrum allocation by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
The government is awaiting recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on spectrum allocation for satellite services. However, these recommendations are unlikely to be released until a new chairman is appointed, according to an official.
This marks SpaceX’s second attempt to enter the Indian satcom market. Last year, the company was compelled to return pre-booking money to applicants after the DoT insisted on regulatory approvals beforehand.
OneWeb and Jio are striving to launch their services quickly to gain an advantage over competitors like Starlink, Amazon, and Tatas in the rapidly growing Indian satcom market. India’s space economy is projected to reach $13 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%, according to an EY-ISpA report.