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    Jio’s joint venture with Luxembourg based satcom co SES gets IN-SPACE approval to operate satellites in India

    A joint venture between Jio Platforms and Luxembourg-based satellite communication service provider SES has received approvals to operate satellites in India from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), according to a report by Reuters. This advances Jio’s efforts in providing satellite communication (satcom) services in India. 

    These approvals were given to Jio Platforms and SES’ joint venture called ‘Orbit Connect India’ in April and June this year. IN-SPACe chairman, Pawan Goenka, told Reuters that another satellite communication company, Inmarsat, has also received its approval to operate satellites in India. 

    Besides Orbit Connect India, other companies such as Amazon’s Project Kuiper and Space X’s satcom project Starlink are also vying for approvals to provide satellite communication services in India. So far, the only company to have received both IN-SPACe and DoT approvals is Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb.

    What additional approvals does Orbit Connect India need to prove satcom services?

    Besides IN-SPACe approval, Orbit Connect India would now also need approval from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and would have to be allocated spectrum before operations can be initiated. As per the Telecommunication Act of 2023, spectrum for satellite communication will be provided to companies through the administrative allocation method as opposed to the auction method which is used for spectrum allocation for terrestrial services. The DoT has yet to initiate the process of administrative allocation or come out with any clear instructions on how the allocation process would work.

    Jio’s position on administrative allocation of spectrum:

    While most other players looking to enter the satellite communication market have wanted administrative allocation, Jio has been ardently opposing the same. As per reports, Jio has written to the DoT arguing against administrative allocation for commercial services like fixed wireless access. 

    Fixed wireless access uses 4G or 5G radio spectrum (the same is used for mobile phone services) to provide wireless broadband connectivity between two fixed points. Jio argues that fixed wireless access is a use case of 5G and that if satellite communication (satcom) providers are allowed to provide FWA services then the companies buying spectrum via auction should be refunded. 

    Jio launched its FWA service JioAirFiber in September 2023, it claims that the service has seen a 30 times higher per capita usage of AirFiber compared to its optical fiber service. 

    Also read:

    The post Jio’s joint venture with Luxembourg based satcom co SES gets IN-SPACE approval to operate satellites in India appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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