People familiar with the matter stated that Reliance Jio submitted necessary documents to IN-SPACE, the space industry regulator. They anticipate imminent authorizations crucial for deploying global satellite bandwidth capacity in India. Sources suggest Jio may receive landing rights and market access approvals from IN-SPACE this month, vital for launching its satellite-based gigabit fibre services in India, led by Mukesh Ambani.
Reliance Jio submitted essential documents to IN-SPACE, the space industry regulator. An insider informed ET that the anticipated authorizations, crucial for deploying global satellite bandwidth capacity in India, are imminent.
IN-SPACE Chair Says Multiple Applications in Progress
Securing authorizations is crucial to deploy global satellite bandwidth capacity in India. The IN-SPACE authorization process, a complex procedure, involves obtaining approvals from various ministries and undergoing security clearances.
Pawan Goenka, IN-SPACE Chairman, responded to ET’s query, stating,
“We don’t comment on the status of approvals for specific companies. All I can say is that several applications for IN-SPACE authorizations are in the pipeline.”
Reliance Jio’s Satellite Venture
In the previous year, Jio Platforms and SES, a Luxembourg-based satcoms player, established a 51:49 joint venture to provide broadband connectivity via satellites. This move entered them into a domain where companies like Eutelsat OneWeb, Elon Musk’s Starlink, Amazon, and the Tatas have also declared their presence.
Jio’s satellite division has received a GMPCS (global mobile personal communications by satellite services) license from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). However, pending authorizations from IN-SPACE are crucial for full operational clearance.
Eutelsat OneWeb, supported by Bharti, stands as the sole global satellite constellation operator with the necessary approvals from IN-SPACE. Meanwhile, Reliance Jio has yet to respond inquiry.
Eutelsat OneWeb and Jio-SES Eye Early Lead
In the emerging Indian satcoms market with substantial growth potential, both Eutelsat OneWeb and the Jio-SES alliance are vying for a first-mover advantage against competitors like Starlink, Amazon led by Jeff Bezos, and the Tatas.
Jio’s president, Mathew Oommen, recently stated that the satellite services unit of Jio can swiftly introduce JioSpace Fiber services within weeks of securing the spectrum allocation.
New Telecom Act Accelerates Satellite Spectrum Allocation
With the enactment of the Telecommunications Act 2023, providing legislative support for satellite spectrum allocation through the administrative route, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to swiftly assign these airwaves, as suggested by informed sources.
According to earlier statements, IN-SPACE projected that India’s space economy could reach $44 billion by 2033, constituting approximately 8% of the global share, a significant increase from the current 2%.
The focus of satellite-based broadband services in India will predominantly aim at addressing areas currently underserved by conventional terrestrial broadband solutions. This includes rural and remote regions with limited or no access to high-speed internet.