Musk gets an edge over Ambani in Centre’s satellite internet battle

jio, reliance jio

Reliance Jio, country’s biggest telecom operator, however had disagreed and told government that an auction is the right approach.


India has proposed a licensing approach to assigning spectrum for satellite internet services and exempt companies from having to bid for it, a win for Elon Musk’s venture Starlink which has lobbied hard against any auctions.

 


The proposal was included in a new draft bill for the telecommunications sector, which seeks to replace the 138-year old Indian Telegraph Act that currently governs the sector. The bill was tabled for approval in parliament on Monday.

 


While Starlink and its global peers like Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and the British government-backed OneWeb would rejoice in the move, it is a setback to Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s wealthiest, who runs Indian telecom giant Reliance Jio.

 


The foreign firms have been demanding a licensing approach, concerned that an auction by India unlike elsewhere will raise the likelihood of other nations following suit, increasing costs and investments, Reuters had reported in June.

 


Reliance Jio, country’s biggest telecom operator, however had disagreed and told government that an auction is the right approach, similar to 5G spectrum distribution in India. Foreign satellite service providers could offer voice and data services and compete with traditional telecom players, and so there must be an auction to achieve a level playing field, Reliance had argued.


“By bypassing traditional auctions, this pragmatic method is poised to expedite the deployment of satellite services more efficiently,” said Anil Prakash, Director General at SIA-India, a satellite industry body.

 


India’s satellite broadband service market is expected to grow 36% a year to reach $1.9 billion by 2030, according to Deloitte.


Monday’s draft telecom bill also empowers India’s government to suspend or prohibit use of telecom equipment from specific countries on the grounds of national security.

First Published: Dec 18 2023 | 11:32 PM IST

India has proposed a licensing approach for assigning spectrum for satellite internet services, exempting companies from having to bid for it. This move is seen as a win for Elon Musk’s Starlink, which has lobbied against any auctions. The proposal is part of a new draft bill for the telecommunications sector, which aims to replace the 138-year old Indian Telegraph Act. While foreign companies like Starlink, Project Kuiper, and OneWeb welcome the move, it is a setback for Reliance Jio, India’s biggest telecom operator, which had argued for an auction similar to 5G spectrum distribution. The draft bill also gives the Indian government the power to suspend or prohibit the use of telecom equipment from specific countries on national security grounds. The satellite broadband service market in India is expected to grow to $1.9 billion by 2030.,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *