India has told Starlink, which has yet to get a license, to refund customers and withhold new orders.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet business has told its members the Indian government has asked the company to refund all its pre-orders until it receives licenses to operate in the country.
“As has always been the case, you can receive a refund at any time,” the company said in an email to one of its customers. Reuters reported Tuesday, citing a copy of the email he saw.
Starlink, a division of Musk’s SpaceX airline, has already received more than 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India, but is struggling to obtain commercial licenses without which it cannot offer services in the country.
“Unfortunately, the timeline for receiving licenses to operate is currently unknown, and there are several issues that need to be resolved with the licensing framework to enable us to operate Starlink in India,” the company said in the email. said.
“The Starlink team is looking forward to making Starlink available in India as soon as possible,” it said.
Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-earth orbital network to provide low-latency broadband Internet services around the world, with a particular focus on remote areas struggling with terrestrial internet infrastructure. reach. SpaceX tells investors Starlink is fishing for a piece of a $ 1 trillion market consisting of flight internet, maritime services, demand in China and India – and rural customers
But the Indian government has advised people to sign up for Starlink without a license and ordered the company not to take reservations and provide services.
Starlink plans to apply for a commercial license in India by the end of January, its governor Sanjay Bhargava said in a social media post last month, and a presentation showed that with an April 200 deployment 000 devices in India by December 2022. .
But in A LinkedIn post Bhargava said on Tuesday that he had resigned as country director and chairman of the council due to “personal reasons”. According to his profile on the platform, he took up the role in October.
In India, Starlink planned to “continue the business of telecommunications services” including satellite broadband internet services, content storage and streaming, multimedia communications, among others. It also aimed to trade devices such as satellite phones, network equipment, wired and wireless communication devices, as well as data transmission and reception equipment.
The company also said it would focus on “catalyzing rural development” in India through its broadband services, according to a company offering that Bhargava shared on LinkedIn over the weekend.
Once it was allowed to provide services, the company in the first phase planned to give 100 devices for free to schools in Delhi and nearby rural districts and then target 12 rural districts across India.
Starlink’s competitors include Amazon.com’s Kuiper and OneWeb – a collapsed satellite operator rescued by the British government and India’s Bharti Group.