Two of the big names that are going to be a part of India’s satellite communications (satcom) industry are SpaceX owned Starlink and Bharti owned OneWeb. Both the satcom companies are gearing for global coverage. While the arrival of both the companies is exciting for the satcom fans in India, there are a few things that are very noticeable from all the developments so far.
With respect to India, Starlink and OneWeb both have very different ways to look at business. The nature of their services will be the same, but their strategy will be completely different. It is actually a great way to go about this. No two companies in the same business should follow the same strategy, because it prohibits innovation to a certain extent.
OneWeb Looks Like a B2B Play So Far
OneWeb looks like a company that will love to play in the B2B or Business to Business segment. One thing that’s great about B2B companies is that they can make large deals. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, has said in the past that OneWeb will not look to compete with the terrestrial network provides.
Instead, the company will partner with telecom operators across the globe and help them in expanding their coverage area. The same strategy will be applied by the company in India. It is very likely that OneWeb’s Indian subsidiary will partner with Bharti Airtel and help the company in competing with Jio when it comes to providing better 4G coverage.
Now, this is not to say that OneWeb would completely ignore the B2C or Business to Consumer space. But generally in a business such as satellite broadband services, where the cost of service is too high and the alternatives are easily available, it doesn’t attract the customers much. Especially in the Indian market, where people spend money very carefully, the B2B approach from OneWeb looks like a good strategy to follow.
Starlink Looks Like a B2C Play So Far
Starlink has been announcing that in India, it will be availing 100 free connections which will include 20 schools in Delhi and the remaining 80 in schools in a rural district near the Capital. The company is currently working with NITI Aayog to identify three rural districts from each zone including the North, South, West, and East for offering free internet services.
Starlink is also selling its pre-booking for $99 or Rs 7,500 approximately in India and the company has already received multiple thousand orders from the country. Starlink has said that it is open to forming partnerships with other companies including Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio, but there’s no saying that something of this sort will definitely happen with Starlink.
Starlink looks a lot more focused on providing connectivity in rural and remote areas of the country, but with the B2C approach. However, it is still too early to say how each company is operating and will operate in the future. But, there’s no denying that currently, B2B looks like the right model for the satellite broadband companies to approach.