Elon Musk’s Starlink Could Get India License Soon
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Elon Musk’s Starlink Could Get India License Soon

A source said that Starlink gave “satisfactory” answers with regard to the company’s data storage and transfer norms. “The company will be given a global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS) license to offer services after the security check is completed,” they added.

Starlink had reportedly told the government that data transfer and storage laws followed would be international, given the company’s global positioning. This was rejected by Indian authorities. The company has now agreed to comply with the requirement of data storage being done locally in order to hold an Indian license, a second source said.

The company did not respond to queries, as per the report.

Tough Competition

The GMPCS license will enable Starlink to offer messaging services, voice services, and broadband to individuals and organizations in India.

Earlier in September it was reported that a “high-level meeting” had been scheduled to discuss the SpaceX subsidiary’s suit for a GMPCS license.

Notably, Reliance Jio and Sunil Mittal’s One Web have already secured the GMPPCS license in India. An approval for Starlink would make it the third satellite communications (satcom) company to receive this license. Besides, Elon Musk, Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos has also made a move for a piece of the pie. However, this application is yet to be considered by the government.

The Process

Besides government approval for the license, Satcom players will also have to gain approval from the space regulator — Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe). As of 2023, IN-SPACe is the single-window agency for space activity approvals in India.

The next step would be spectrum allotment by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

An official told the paper that the government is awaiting Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations on the division of satcom spectrum. However, this is likely to be delayed till such time that TRAI gets a new chairman.

Notably, in late 2021, Starlink got a scolding from the Telecom Ministry for taking advance money from subscribers for services when it hadn’t even procured the license. The Ministry had asked Starlink to start refunding the money to around 5,000 odd customers who had pre-ordered its services in India.

Source : Mint