Reliance Jio, led by Mukesh Ambani, is reportedly on the verge of obtaining vital landing rights and market access authorizations from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) to launch satellite-based gigabit fiber services across India. Sources familiar with the matter revealed that Jio has completed all necessary submissions to IN-SPACe, and the eagerly awaited authorizations are expected imminently. These permissions are crucial for deploying global satellite bandwidth capacity within India.
The IN-SPACe authorization process is known for its complexity, requiring approvals from multiple ministries and stringent security clearances. In the past year, Jio Platforms entered into a joint venture with Luxembourg-based satellite communications player SES, aiming to provide broadband connectivity through satellites. This strategic move positioned Jio in competition with global players like Eutelsat OneWeb, Elon Musk’s Starlink, Amazon, and the Tatas.
While Jio's satellite arm secured a GMPCS license from the Department of Telecommunications, the pending IN-SPACe authorizations are seen as the final hurdle. Eutelsat OneWeb, backed by Bharti, is currently the only global satellite constellation operator that has received essential approvals from IN-SPACe.
The race for an early advantage in India’s growing satellite communications (satcoms) market involves Jio-SES and Eutelsat OneWeb competing against formidable players such as Starlink, Amazon, and the Tatas. Jio's President, Mathew Oommen, recently emphasized the capability of Jio’s satellite services unit to launch JioSpaceFiber services within weeks of spectrum allocation.
With the newly enacted Telecommunications Act of 2023 providing legislative support for the administrative allocation of satellite spectrum, experts anticipate an expedited process through the Department of Telecommunications. IN-SPACe estimates project India’s space economy to potentially reach $44 billion by 2033, representing a significant increase from its current 2% global share to an anticipated 8%.