Satcom: Jio, Airtel Entry Doesn’t Mean Low Prices

Satcom is an expensive affair because the kind of investments it requires is immense. Internationally, people are paying over $100 a month on average for satellite broadband services. Even Jio and Airtel can’t bring it much down to the levels of 4G. While satcom services will be expensive, they will have a demand in areas where territorial networks can’t reach.

Highlights

  • Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are going to battle it out in the satellite communications (satcom) market in the near future.
  • The interest of both the companies in the satcom sector has many people excited thinking that Jio will do with satellite broadband what it did with 4G.
  • Satcom is an expensive affair because the kind of investments its requires is immense.

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Satcom

Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are going to battle it out in the satellite communications (satcom) market in the near future. Both the telcos are already tussling over the spectrum auctions where Jio says that everyone who wants spectrum for offering communication services should get it from the auctions. However, Airtel is of the view that satcom companies don’t require spectrum the way terrestrial network service providers do and hence following the global practice, India should also “allocate” the spectrum strategically to the satcom companies.

The interest of both the companies in the satcom sector has many people excited thinking that Jio will do with satellite broadband what it did with 4G. However, that’s unrealistic and most likely not going to happen.

Satcom an Expensive Affair for Everyone, Including Jio and Airtel

Satcom is an expensive affair because the kind of investments it requires is immense. Internationally, people are paying over $100 a month on average for satellite broadband services.

But to get a connection in the first place, consumers will have to spend a hefty sum. Back in December 2021, Sanjay Bhargava, former head of Starlink India, had shared that the probable cost for a Starlink connection with a basic internet plan for an Indian user would come around Rs 1,58,000 for the first year.

Bhargava said that the monthly cost of the Starlink plan would come around $100 (approximately Rs 7500) for an Indian user.

Even Jio and Airtel can’t bring it much down to the levels of 4G. While satcom services will be expensive, they will have a demand in areas where territorial networks can’t reach. If more players such as SpaceX owned Starlink, Amazon’s Kuiper and more enter the market aggressively, it can contribute to the prices going down.

Regardless of the price going down, it will never be down enough to be compared directly with 4G or even home fiber broadband plans. Thus, for normal users, 4G networks and fiber broadband are the best bet if they want to use the internet and stay connected to the world.

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