Jio applies for satcom services licence in India

Jio applies for Satcom services licence in India

Jio Satellite Communications (JSC), the satellite unit of Reliance Jio Infocomm applied to the Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for global mobile personal communications via satellite services (GMPCS) license, reported local media.


JSC was incorporated in October 2021 and competes against heavyweight names such as Bharti Group backed-OneWeb, Elon Musk’s Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and the Tata-Telesat mix for a share of the brand new age broadband-from-space segment.

The aforementioned companies have made already made ground with launch plans imminent to provide connectivity in India. Bharati Airtel entered a joint venture with Hughes Communication for satellite broadband services in India. The internet division of Elon Musk-led SpaceX, Starlink has also announced it plans for satellite broadband services in India. Tata Group company Nelco is in advanced talks with Canadian company Telesat to launch fast satellite broadband services in India.

According to a report in the Economic Times, Jio's entry was widely anticipated as the telco put across strong views lately around the mode of allocation of satellite spectrum, satellite gateway operations, and the choice of airwave bands at various stages. But this is the first official move by its satellite arm to pitch for a full-blown satellite services permit.

The report said that JSC may lease or resell satellite bandwidth capacity to offer cellular backhaul connectivity services to rural or remote corners where mobile broadband connectivity is weak. Jio’s new satellite arm may be open to providing satellite broadband services to potential clients in different trade verticals comparable to aviation and maritime, the report said quoting unnamed sources.

According to various studies, currently, India constitutes 2-3% of the global space economy and is expected to enhance its share to more than 10% by 2030 at a CAGR of 48%. Satellite broadband services in India remain primarily for the B2B sector with market size of roughly $100 million.

Since the launch of the government's Digital India initiative in 2015, nearly 178,000 villages have been connected with optical fibre. There are 250,000 more villages to be connected. SpaceCom experts predict that with the upcoming ‘Open Space’, satellite broadband services can be a $500 million-plus near-term market opportunity.

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