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Musk “figuring out” India Starlink

September 8, 2021

Elon Musk says his team are busy “figuring out the regulatory approval process” for launching the Starlink broadband service over India.

Musk was asked the question on Twitter as to when his service might start in India, and responded a few hours later.

India could well be extra important in Starlink’s ambitions given that Bharti-backed OneWeb is promising an India service by mid-2022. Time is therefore of the essence amongst the two rivals.

However, the two upcoming services are very different; Musk’s Starlink is targeting individual users (as well as businesses and SMEs) while OneWeb is looking to see its terminals based at business-to-business operators and wholesalers which themselves will target community centres, schools and health offices and other centres of potential communications and very much including enterprises.

OneWeb’s CEO Neil Masterson recognises that the two might be competing in some areas.

“There are some areas where we will compete, I suspect, particularly around serving governments, but governments will always buy more than one service,” Masterson recently told CNBC. “I think there’ll be multiple players who will be able to be able to be successful in addressing their market.”

And while India’s broadband users might be torn between signing up for Starlink or OneWeb, it has to be remembered that there are other players either already active or looking at the Indian market. For example, Canada’s Telesat as well as giants such as Lockheed Martin which is working with Omnispace and AST&Science, all of which are eyeing India’s growing millions of broadband users.

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