Starlink to be ‘formidable competition’ for Airtel-backed OneWeb: Sunil Mittal - Hindustan Times
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Starlink to be a ‘formidable competition’ for Airtel-backed OneWeb, says Sunil Mittal

By, New Delhi
Feb 27, 2024 09:10 AM IST

The Bharti Airtel chairman also revealed that OneWeb is waiting for the government's final approval to launch satellite-based broadband services in the country.

Elon Musk's Starlink will be a ‘formidable competition’ to Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb, both in India and globally, according to Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal, who also revealed that OneWeb is ready to launch its satellite-based broadband services in the country, and is only waiting for a final approval from the government.

Chairman of Bharti Airtel Sunil Mittal. (HT file photo)
Chairman of Bharti Airtel Sunil Mittal. (HT file photo)

Also Read: Bharti-backed OneWeb gets approval for satellite broadband services in India

Mittal was speaking to Moneycontrol in an exclusive interview.

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“You cannot underestimate Starlink, it is a formidable competition. But everybody has a space in the market. Our primary focus is in B2B (business-to-business), and we are not in B2C (business-to-customer) at all. We focus on use cases like military, navy, army, oil, and gas, enterprise, warehousing, industrial application, and cellular backhaul,” the industrialist said on the venture operated by the Musk-led SpaceX.

On OneWeb, he noted how FDI (foreign direct investment) for the project has been cleared, and ‘that the process will roll forward.’

“The satellite portal network site is in Mehsana, Gujarat, and is now ready. We have done some trials, and everything functions very well. Now, the spectrum assignment has to be done,” Mittal further stated, adding that the government should start giving the spectrum as ‘everything is ready.’

Starlink's India entry delayed

Starlink, on the other hand, is facing a delay in obtaining the license from the Government of India. Among the government's demands is that the former must fully disclose the ownership details of SpaceX, a demand that Starlink says it cannot meet as the US privacy laws prohibit it from doing so.

Also Read: How Elon Musk's Starlink may face license delay in India due to Verizon case

It also provided a declaration to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), asserting that no Starlink shareholder belongs to any country that shares a land border with India. Verizon Communications, a United States-based telecom firm, faced a similar situation last year when it sent a declaration to DoT for renewing its Internet Service Provider (ISP) license.

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