Amazon reportedly started to seek regulatory approval in India for its satellite broadband service Project Kuiper, joining a widening field of players, including SpaceX’s Starlink, Bharti-backed OneWeb and Reliance Industries’ Jio Satellite.
The Economic Times revealed the e-commerce giant had applied for approval for its space-based internet service from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre and is expected to apply for a global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS) licence with the country’s Department of Telecommunications.
Last week, Amazon’s Project Kuiper launched its first two test satellites as it prepares to use low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite technology to expand network coverage to hard-to-reach areas. The prototypes are the first of more than 3,200 birds Amazon plans to deploy over the next six years, with the first expected to come online in 2024.
OneWeb, which forged a deal with a commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation to launch satellites, and Jio Satellite have already received GMPCS licences. Starlink has not secured a licence and, earlier this year, was ordered by the government to refund deposits from customers for a satellite broadband service.
India’s government has already passed a policy allowing private LEO and medium-earth orbit satellite operators, including non-domestic companies, to introduce broadband from space services.