Reliance Jio, led by Mukesh Ambani, is on the verge of gaining crucial approvals necessary to launch satellite-based internet services in India. According to reports, the telecom giant is close to securing essential landing rights and market access authorizations from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe).
Sources familiar with the matter disclosed that Jio has completed all the required submissions to IN-SPACe, the governing body for the space industry. These permissions are integral for Jio to introduce its satellite-based gigabit fibre services across India. The process involves approvals from various ministries and stringent security clearances, making it complex and pivotal for deployment.
Last year, Jio Platforms partnered with Luxembourg-based satellite communications company SES, establishing a 51:49 joint venture aimed at providing broadband connectivity through satellites. This strategic move positioned Jio in a domain already entered by companies like Eutelsat OneWeb, Elon Musk’s Starlink, Amazon, and the Tatas.
While Jio’s satellite division obtained a GMPCS license from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the crucial IN-SPACe authorizations are still pending. Presently, Eutelsat OneWeb stands as the lone global satellite constellation operator having received these essential approvals in India.
In the burgeoning satcoms market of India, both Eutelsat OneWeb and the Jio-SES alliance are racing against formidable players like Starlink, Amazon, and the Tatas to gain an early advantage. Jio’s president, Mathew Oommen, emphasized the capability of Jio’s satellite services unit to launch JioSpaceFiber services within weeks of spectrum allocation.
The new Telecommunications Act of 2023 is expected to expedite the administrative allocation of satellite spectrum through DoT, bolstering this endeavor. IN-SPACe’s projections foresee India’s space economy potentially reaching $44 billion by 2033, significantly increasing from its current 2% global share to an anticipated 8%.
Satellite-based internet operates through a network of small satellites orbiting the Earth, providing global coverage, especially in remote or underserved areas. Here are key aspects:
- Global Coverage: Satellite internet bridges gaps in traditional internet infrastructure, reaching remote areas.
- Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites: Companies like Starlink use LEO satellites closer to Earth, reducing latency compared to geostationary satellites.
- High-speed Internet: It promises fast internet, rivaling wired connections, but actual speeds may vary due to location and network congestion.
- Ease of Installation: Users get a satellite dish and modem for installation, connecting to the satellite constellation without extensive infrastructure.
- Challenges: Latency due to signal travel time, weather affecting signal strength, and potential interruptions during satellite transitions are some challenges.