India slaps another notice on Elon Musk led Starlink Internet service
- Elon Musk led Starlink satellite Internet service dreams have come to a screeching halt after India ordered it to stop.
Just days after the first notice was sent to the billionaire Elon Musk led Starlink, India has slapped another notification about the company's activities here. India's Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has got into the act this time and told Starlink that it must not collect any fees or do any telecom-related business here. Starlink is a unit of Elon Musk led SpaceX that is looking to enter enter the satellite Internet service provider space in India.
In a directive on December 7 that has been seen by Economic Times, Trai says that "Starlink Internet Services is required to desist from soliciting telecom business."
This new directive to Starlink has been sent just about a week after the first warning shot was fired across the company's bow. Notably, Starlink had been in the news frequently in India over its intent to sell satellite internet connections. The initial notice had warned Starlink to lay off soliciting business as it does not have the relevant licence to do so here. The company has not been barred from doing business but it has been warned that it needs to get authorisation from the relevant government authorities before setting up shop here and starting to cultivate business.
However, that did not stop Starlink India CEO Sanjay Bhragava taking to LinkedIn and revealing that a Starlink Internet connection is likely to cost users in the neighborhood of around ₹1.58 lakh per user terminal inclusive of taxes for an year. The cost of the Starlink Internet connection would fall as low as INR 1.15 lakh thereafter. Starlink was asking those who were prebooking the service to pay a refundable amount of $99.
When the authorities came to know that Starlink was actually accepting money in India from those pre-booking the internet connections in India, they rushed to slap a cease and desist notice on it.
Thereafter, Starlink India CEO revealed that the company would be applying for a commercial licence in January, 2022. The planned rollout is likely to happen in April and the target that the Elon Musk linked company is gunning for is 20,000 terminals in India by the end of next year.
Other companies that are looking to become satellite internet service providers are Bharti Airtel's OneWeb, and Amazon, which is led by another billionaire Jeff Bezos. Airtel may launch its services next year.