Amazon Steps Up Challenge To Elon Musk's Starlink In India? Eyes Licence For Project Kuiper

Amazon is gearing up to enter India’s satellite communications sector, closely following the trajectory of Elon Musk’s Starlink. The e-commerce giant is on the brink of applying for a satellite communications service operator’s licence for its Project Kuiper, according to sources familiar with the matter.

What Happened? Recent discussions between Amazon and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) have revolved around understanding potential challenges before the official filing. “Amazon aims to submit the licence application soon and is optimistic about receiving approval,” an insider revealed speaking to Mint.

This licence will empower companies to provide satellite-based internet services, benefiting sectors like maritime and aviation communications.

Amazon’s spokesperson commented on the initiative, expressing eagerness to collaborate with the Indian government and local entities to bridge connectivity gaps across the nation.

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A hot nail to hit: The satellite internet arena is heating up with contenders like Starlink and Bharti Enterprises-backed OneWeb. Reliance Jio’s satellite broadband arm, Jio Satellite Communications, which secured its licence last year, is also in the fray.

Amazon recently announced the launch of its prototype satellites and trials. The company’s ambitious Project Kuiper aims to deploy low-earth orbit satellites to enhance internet connectivity, especially in remote areas.

Amazon’s strategic move has been in the pipeline for nearly two years. Leveraging its vast enterprise network, especially its cloud services via Amazon Web Services, the company aspires to carve a significant niche in this emerging market.

However, the industry is keenly awaiting clarity on satellite spectrum allocation. While some advocate for administrative allocation, others, including Reliance Jio, push for auctioning. This decision will be pivotal in shaping the competitive landscape of the satellite communications sector in India.

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