SpaceX’s Starlink gears up to launch internet services in India

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

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 gears up to launch internet services in the country.

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

“Pleased to share that SpaceX now has a 100% owned subsidiary in India,” country director for Starlink in India, Sanjay Bhargava, said in a LinkedIn post.

“We can now start applying for licenses, open bank accounts, etc,” said Bhargava, who according to his LinkedIn profile joined the company only 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 around the world, with a particular 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, multi-media 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 “catalyzing rural development” in India through its broadband services, according to a company presentation shared by Bhargava on LinkedIn over 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 target 12 rural districts across India.

The company aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, 80% of which will be in rural districts, it said in the presentation. Starlink has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.