The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has just announced that it has signed the first license agreement for satellite broadband services in India with OneWeb. Bharti backed OneWeb will offer broadband internet services via a constellation of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites making it the first of a kind broadband service delivery platform in India.
OneWeb already had plans to commence services by May 2022 in India. Things seem to be rolling for OneWeb in India, while its competitor Starlink (SpaceX owned LEO satellite company) hasn’t made any progress at all. DoT made the announcement for the same via a tweet on its official Twitter handle.
OneWeb Recently Signed Agreement With New Space India Limited
It is worth noting that OneWeb had recently signed an agreement with the New Space India Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). OneWeb will take the help of New Space India in launching satellites into the lower earth orbit.
So far, OneWeb has launched a total of 428 satellites into space. This is 66% of its planned total fleet. New Space India is expected to start launching OneWeb satellites in 2022 itself from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota.
OneWeb will certainly get a first-mover advantage over its competitors such as SpaceX owned Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and more companies that plan to come to India to offer satellite broadband services.
However, satcom (satellite communications) companies are going to need to make huge fresh investments in order to get going in India. This will also include getting access to scarce natural resources, which is the spectrum.
Since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) hasn’t recommended reserving any part of the 28 GHz (mmWave) airwaves for the satcom companies, there’s no case for administrative allocation. The satcom companies will need to compete with the telecom operators in order to get their hands on the spectrum.