Starlink Set to Gain GMPCS Licence to Offer Satellite Communication Services in India: Report

Starlink — the global satellite Internet communication service operated by US space company SpaceX — is reportedly set to get the government’s approval to offer its services in the country. According to an ET Satcom report, the company is expected to be eligible to offer Internet access to individual customers and organisations in India, after completion of a security check. Starlink has reportedly agreed to abide by with the government’s requirement that the satcom firm comply with the country’s rules related to data storage.

According to the report citing a government official, Starlink will be granted a global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS) license after a security check is completed, as the answers given by the firm to the government’s queries were satisfactory. The company was asked to provide information related to its plans for data storage in the country as per existing norms.

Once Starlink is granted a GMPCS license, it will become the third company to be eligible to launch satcom services in the country. So far, the government has issued licenses to Jio for its     
JioSpaceFiber satellite Internet services, as well as Bharti-backed OneWeb.

However, companies wishing to start satellite Internet services in the country are also required to get approval from Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the space regulator that functions as a single-window agency for private and government players to seek permission for space projects.

A GMPCS license and IN-SPACe approval are required along with the allocation of spectrum by the government, in order to offer satellite services in India. Both JioSpaceFiber and OneWeb are looking to launch their services in the country, but doing so will need all three prerequisites.

Meanwhile, Amazon has sought regulatory approval from IN-SPACe in order to launch its satellite services in the country. The e-commerce giant is working towards setting up its Project Kuiper satellite network that aims to provide Internet access in areas that are not served by traditional service providers.

There’s no word from Starlink, Amazon, JioSpaceFiber and OneWeb on how much access to satellite Internet networks will cost in India. Pricing could also be influenced by the spectrum allocation process, which is mandatory before any of these operators offer their services in the country.

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