StarLink applies for an ‘experimental license’ to operate in India


Earlier last week, the Indian government had publicly made an announcement that they have barred Elon Musk’s StarLink Internet Services in India. They had even advised its people not to subscribe its services, as the company did not have the proper license to operate in the region.

Days after the announcement was made, the American company applied for a license to begin pilot services, its first official step towards launching full-fledged operations in the Indian markets.

As of now the company is planning to operate under an “experimental license”, which would help the company to carry out a pilot of its technology with limited set of subscribers. This means the company still cannot launch a full-fledged commercial services or onboard paid customers in India yet.

Formal application for the mandated licenses would also be filed now and the process may be completed over the next few months, in case required conditions are met.

“The application for an experimental license has been filed, and this will allow the company to test its services. This will, however, not allow them to launch commercial services. That would require a GMPCS (Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite) license, apart from other clearances by the telecom ministry and the department of space,” said the reports.

The plan of Starlink and other satellite-based internet services companies is to offer large swathes of bandwidth — with speeds as high as 1 GBPS and even more — through low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites that would be deployed at a distance of around 1,000 kms from the earth. The bandwidth would be sold to a variety of users/ customers that will include business enterprises, railways, shipping companies, defense establishments, airlines, and telecom companies.

The Department of Telecom had asked StarLink to comply with the regulatory framework for offering the service in India and stop booking or rendering the internet service in India “with immediate effect”.

Starlink Internet Services has been accepting orders for the beta version of the service for a fully refundable deposit of $99 or Rs 7,400.