Internet unit of Elon Musk's SpaceX to enter India

Starlink plans to provide range of telecom services, including satellite broadband internet, content storage and streaming, and multi-media communication

SpaceX founder and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk addresses the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Reuters
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Starlink, the satellite internet division of billionaire Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX, registered its business in India on Monday, company documents filed with the government showed, as it prepares to launch internet services there.

Having a local unit, Starlink Satellite Communications Private Limited, will allow the company to apply for the licences it needs from the government before it can provide broadband and other satellite-based services.

"Pleased to share that SpaceX now has a 100 per cent owned subsidiary in India," Sanjay Bhargava, country director for Starlink in India, wrote on LinkedIn.

"We can now start applying for licences, open bank accounts, etc," wrote Mr Bhargava, who according to his profile joined the company in October.

Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbiting network to provide low-latency broadband internet services, with a focus on remote areas that terrestrial internet infrastructure struggles to reach.

Its competitors include Amazon.com's Kuiper and OneWeb, which is co-owned by the British government and India's Bharti Enterprises.

In India, Starlink plans to "carry on the business of telecommunication services" including satellite broadband internet services, content storage and streaming, multimedia communication, among others, according to the company filing.

It will also deal in devices such as satellite phones, network equipment, wired and wireless communication devices, as well as data transmission and reception equipment, it said.

Starlink separately said it will focus on "catalysing rural development" in India through its broadband services, according to a company presentation shared by Mr Bhargava on LinkedIn at the weekend.

Once it is allowed to provide services, Starlink will, in the first phase, give 100 devices for free to schools in Delhi and nearby rural districts. It will then select 12 other rural districts.

The company aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, 80 per cent of which will be in rural districts, it said in the presentation.

Starlink has received more than 5,000 orders for its devices in India.

Updated: November 09, 2021, 6:55 AM
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