OneWeb Delays Launch of Satellite Broadband Services Until Late 2023


OneWeb, a satellite broadband company, has reportedly postponed the launch of its services in India to August 2023. As per Shivaji Chatterjee, executive vice-president of Hughes Communications India, OneWeb could launch its satellite broadband services in India between August and December next year. Originally, the company planned to launch its services in the country by mid-2022.

OneWeb Delays Launch of Satellite Broadband Services Until Late 2023

Why This Delay in Arrival of Satellite Broadband Services?

The executive revealed in ET that the current issue in India in the Satcom (Satellite Communications) space is the lurking uncertainty around how the spectrum will be allocated to the companies. Satellite connectivity services want the spectrum via administrative allocation, while the operators want a spectrum auction to happen. The DoT is also in favor of the operators and wants a spectrum auction. However, the final discretion remains unknown for now.

Notably, OneWeb has the requisite NLD and GMPC licenses necessary to set up earth stations and offer telecommunication services. For now, regulations are unclear if the spectrum used to transmit data to devices and back to the satellites will be auctioned. Both the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and DoS are weighing this matter.

One of the earlier reports suggested that the ongoing crisis in Ukraine threw a wrench in the plans of OneWeb as Russia canceled its agreement due to disagreements with the British government. OneWeb plans to complete its collaboration with Elon Musk's SpaceX, which launched Starlink and New Space India Limited (ISRO), which are competing in the satellite connectivity sector.

OneWeb Delays Launch of Satellite Broadband Services Until Late 2023

OneWeb to Focus on B2B Segment

Since last year, OneWeb and Starlink entered fierce competition. Currently, Starlink seems to be out of the country and has not made any moves as it is waiting for the policies to be in place before investing. Starlink was asked by the Indian government to refund all deposits it got from prospective customers for its satellite broadband services. Also, the company was not allowed to take pre-bookings before getting the necessary licenses. For now, Starlink's re-entry in India is in the dark.


Related: How will iPhone 14 series Satellite Connectivity work?Related: How will iPhone 14 series Satellite Connectivity work?

Reports indicate that OneWeb will come to India next year and focus on the B2B segment. The company will work with telcos and enterprises as well. It will be interesting to see if the company declares plans to serve customers directly.

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