The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has sent a letter to Starlink asking the SpaceX owned satellite broadband company to stop selling pre-bookings in India. As per an ET report, the regulator has said that due to not having necessary approvals and licenses, the company shouldn’t engage in any sort of telecom business and collect any related fee from the Indian consumers.
The timing of the letter is a little odd as the company had already stopped selling pre-bookings a few days back after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) order.
Starlink in Process to Get Necessary Approvals
Sanjay Bhargava, India Head, Starlink, wrote in a LinkedIn post that the company is in the process to apply for the regulatory approvals necessary in India. Bhargava said that Starlink will submit a license to sell in India before or by January 31, 2022. If no roadblock comes and everything goes according to the plan, Starlink will start selling commercial services by April 2022. Further, the company plans on having over 200K Starlink terminals in India by December 2022.
Starlink had been selling a pre-booking in India for $99 or approximately Rs 7,500. The company had confirmed that it had already sold over 5000 plus connections in India. Starlink plans on starting commercial services by mid-2022.
The company has explained the benefits and uses of a Starlink connection and also asked the state governments and union territories to tap into the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) corpus for funding the purchase and installation of Starlink terminals in the first year for making their states 100% covered with broadband.
Starlink can provide internet services in the remotest regions of India as long as there are no interruptions to the signals that are coming from the satellite. The first-year cost for purchasing and installing a Starlink connection is estimated to be Rs 1,58,000, which is sort of unfeasible for an average consumer.