OneWeb, a satellite broadband company, has reportedly pushed its plans to launch services in India to a later period. The launch has been pushed back to August 2023, at least. Shivaji Chatterjee, executive vice-president of Hughes Communications India, told ET that the launch of OneWeb's satellite broadband services in India will take place between August to December 2023. OneWeb had originally planned to launch services in the Indian market by mid-2022. Back then, it was also a competition between OneWeb and Starlink.
But right now, Starlink seems to be out of the Indian market. The company hasn't been making any moves in India and is likely waiting for the policies to be developed first before investing. Starlink was asked by the Indian government to refund all the advance deposits it had taken from the customers for its connection. The company wasn't allowed to sell pre-bookings before getting the appropriate licenses.
The current issue in the Indian market related to the satcom (Satellite Communications) space is there's uncertainty around how the spectrum will be delivered to the companies. Satellite players want the spectrum via administrative allocation, while the telcos want a spectrum auction to take place. The DoT is also reportedly in favour of the spectrum auction route but what will finally happen is unknown at the moment.
OneWeb will come to India and focus more on the B2B segment. The company will work with enterprises and telcos. It would be interesting to see if and when OneWeb also declares plans for serving customers directly. Satellite broadband can be an expensive affair for direct consumers. Starlink's pre-booking costed users upwards of Rs 7,000 in India. The monthly service plans would cost around the same as well, which would have become unfeasible and a very unwanted alternative for the consumers. Starlink's re-entry is in the dark for India right now.