Musk’s Starlink to apply for India license by end of January

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Starlink, the satellite internet arm of billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, will apply early next year for a commercial license in India to provide broadband and other services, said Friday his head of country.

“We hope to have applied for a commercial license by January 31, 2022 (unless we encounter a major hurdle),” said Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink’s country manager for India at SpaceX in a post on LinkedIn.

If the company can roll out its services by April, it aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, she said in a presentation released by Bhargava. The company has previously said it expects 80% of these devices to be in rural areas.

Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-earth orbit network to provide low-latency high-speed internet services around the world, with a particular focus on areas remote areas that the terrestrial Internet infrastructure is struggling to reach.

Its competitors include’s Kuiper and OneWeb, which are jointly owned by the UK government and Indian Bharti companies.

While Starlink has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India, it has not started any service.

Despite this, the Indian government last week advised people against subscribing to Starlink because it is unlicensed to operate in the country. He also warned the company, urging it to refrain from taking reservations and rendering services.

Starlink has stopped taking pre-orders for its devices, according to its website, citing “pending regulatory approval.”

Last month, the company registered a local unit, Starlink Satellite Communications Private Ltd, paving the way for it to start doing business in the country.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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