In a significant development poised to reshape India’s internet landscape, Elon Musk’s satellite internet venture, Starlink, is on the verge of making its debut in the country. As it undergoes the final stages of regulatory checks and tests, Starlink is positioning itself to compete with established players like Reliance Jio and Airtel, promising enhanced connectivity, particularly in remote and rural areas.
The eagerly anticipated entry into the Indian market hinges on Starlink obtaining the necessary operating license, a step that follows its successful clearance of regulatory scrutiny and compliance tests. The company is expected to divulge its shareholding pattern to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, paving the way for an operating certificate from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Upon approval from DoT, the letter of intent will be forwarded to Telecom Secretary Neeraj Mittal and Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw for their final endorsement. Subsequently, Starlink is poised to receive official approval from the Satellite Communications Wing.
Starlink’s application for a global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS) license in 2022 positions it to become the third company in India, following OneWeb and Reliance Jio, to be granted this license.
Speed and Expected Pricing in India:
Drawing on its global track record, Starlink is anticipated to offer download speeds ranging from 25 to 220 Mbps, with upload speeds typically falling between 5 to 20 Mbps. Notably, most users globally experience download speeds surpassing 100 Mbps, a significant leap from traditional options in remote areas.
Starlink’s internet service, being satellite-based, is expected to provide speeds comparable to 4G rather than 5G, addressing the connectivity challenges faced in remote locations where optical fibers or towers are less feasible.
While Starlink has not officially disclosed its pricing model for the Indian market, reports suggest that the initial cost in the first year may be around ₹1,58,000, as indicated by the company’s former India head. The second-year cost is projected to be ₹1,15,000 plus a 30 percent tax, factoring in the one-time purchase of equipment.
Reportedly, the user equipment’s base price is expected to be ₹37,400, accompanied by a monthly service fee of ₹7,425. The final pricing details will only be unveiled following the successful acquisition of the service’s license.
As Starlink prepares to carve its niche in India, consumers await the prospect of improved connectivity and competition in the internet service sector, heralding a new era of technological advancement.