SpaceX’s satellite internet division, Starlink had previously started accepting pre-orders for its upcoming services in India. However, since then, a lot of developments have taken place and the company is currently refunding Indian users for their pre-orders, following the directions given to it by the Department of Telecom (DoT).
DoT has instructed Starlink to refund pre-orders and not take any more until its satellite internet services have been licensed in India. The country is considered as one of the key markets Starlink is targeting, and is believed to be getting ready to launch its services in ten rural Lok Sabha constituencies.
The email sent by Starlink informing customers about the refund states that the timeline for receiving licences to operate in India is “currently unknown” and that there are “several issues” that must be resolved within the licensing framework to allow the company to operate in India.
To recall, Starlink registered its business in the country back in November, under the name Starlink Satellite Communications Private Limited. With the help of this registration, the company became eligible to apply for licences before providing services to users in India. Back then, the company was reportedly aiming to provide high-speed internet to ten rural Lok Sabha constituencies for 80 percent of the Starlink terminals shipped to India.
After registration, Starlink Country Director Sanjay Bhargava in December stated that the company is looking to apply for a commercial licence on or before January 31. It was reported that the company is looking to have 2,00,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022. However, this licenses setback can cause a major issue for the company, which will then have to push back its timeline. The current timeline was set on the basis, if the company could roll out its services in the country by April.
To date, the company is said to have received over 5,000 pre-orders for its services in India. But now it is refunding all the pre-orders and has stopped taking any further orders.
The company’s website while trying to pre-order the service now shows the message stating, “Starlink is not yet available in your area due to pending regulatory approval. As we receive approvals our coverage area will continue to expand, so please check back for future availability in your area.”
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