The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked Starlink India to refund all the pre-orders it has taken until now. Starlink reached out to the customers and asked them to claim their refund by signing in to their account and clicking on ‘Cancel and Request Refund’. This is a big blow to the company and one that will certainly affect its business in India.
The DoT and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had already asked the company to stop taking pre-orders. But now, the company has also been asked to refund the pre-orders of the customers.
Some Indian customers had paid for the pre-order in 2020 itself. Since there’s no fixed timeline on when the services will arrive, DoT has asked Starlink India to refund the pre-orders.
Starlink India Can’t Take Pre-Orders Until It Gets License
To provide services and even take pre-orders, Starlink India has been asked to get the necessary license first.
“Unfortunately, the timeline for receiving licenses to operate is currently unknown, and there are several issues that must be resolved within licensing framework to allow us to operate Starlink in India,” Starlink said.
“Until that time, we have been directed by India’s Department of Telecommunications to refund pre-orders until we are licensed,” the SpaceX owned company added.
Customers who are claiming a refund can do it anytime. Users just need to log in to their account and click on “Cancel and Request Refund’. The refund will be issued immediately and may take up to 10 days to reflect in the customer’s account.
Starlink is planning to apply for the commercial license by January 31, 2022, or before. If everything goes as planned, the company expects to launch commercial services as soon as April 2022. But there can be further delays, and one big thing that needs to be addressed is that there are no clear policies around satcom spectrum allocation yet.