According to people with knowledge of the situation, Reliance Jio may obtain this month’s landing rights and market access authorizations from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe). These approvals are necessary for the telecom company led by Mukesh Ambani to begin offering gigabit fiber services in India via satellite.
One of the individuals previously cited told ET that Jio has submitted all required information to IN-SPACe, the agency overseeing the space industry, and that the necessary authorizations are anticipated shortly. In order to deploy global satellite bandwidth capacity in India, the authorizations are required.
The authorization process for IN-SPACe is intricate and requires clearances from multiple ministries as well as security clearances.
“We don’t comment on the status of approvals of specific companies…all I can say is that several applications for IN-SPACE authorisations are in the pipeline,” IN-SPACe chairman Pawan Goenka said in response to an ET inquiry about the status of pending authorizations for Jio’s satellite communications venture.
In an industry where companies like Eutelsat OneWeb, Elon Musk’s Starlink, Amazon, and the Tatas have also announced their entries, Jio Platforms and Luxembourg-based satcoms player SES formed a 51:49 joint venture last year to deliver broadband connectivity via satellites.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has already granted Jio’s satellite division a GMPCS (global mobile personal communications by satellite services) license; however, IN-SPACe authorizations are still pending.
The only global satellite constellation operator with the necessary IN-SPACE approvals is Eutelsat OneWeb, which is backed by Bharti.
ET didn’t receive a response from Reliance Jio.
In the still-emerging but highly promising India satcoms market, Eutelsat OneWeb and the Jio-SES combination are vying for a first-mover’s advantage over companies like Tatas, Jeff Bezos-led Amazon, and Starlink. After receiving the spectrum, Jio’s satellite services unit can launch JioSpaceFiber services in a matter of weeks, according to the company’s president, Mathew Oommen.
The individuals previously mentioned stated that the DoT’s assignment of these airwaves is unlikely to take too long because the recently passed Telecommunications Act, 2023 provides legislative support for the distribution of satellite spectrum through the administrative route.
India’s space economy could reach $44 billion by 2033, according to a recent IN-SPACE estimate, and rise from its current share of about 2% to roughly 8% of the global economy.
The areas currently underserved by traditional terrestrial broadband solutions, such as rural and remote areas with little to no access to high-speed internet, will be the primary target of satellite-based broadband services in India.