Waiting for India's policy to offer OneWeb's satellite broadband services in country: Sunil Bharti

By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, Mar 26 (IANS): Bharti Group-backed satellite communications company Network Access Associates Ltd (OneWeb) is awaiting India's Space Communication policy and the policy on Spectrum Allocation to launch its services in India, Bharti Enterprises Founder & Chairman and One Web Executive Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said.

He also said India has a big role to play as regards OneWeb as the user terminals will be made in the country.

Mittal also said the group is setting up two ground stations in India - one in Vadodara in Gujarat and the other in Madurai in Tamil Nadu.

Interacting with a select group of reporters after the successful launch of 36 OneWeb satellites, Mittal said the group is awaiting for India's policies on space communication, satellite spectrum allocation and foreign direct investment (FDI).

The country's Space Policy is in a work in progress stage.

Mittal said the space spectrum is a shared resource and not a dedicated one for a player.

On Sunday morning, Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) rocket LVM3 successfully orbited the final batch of OneWeb's 36 satellites.

With this launch, OneWeb has 618 satellites orbiting in space. By completing the constellation, it is taking a pivotal step forward in delivering global coverage including India, the company had said.

Mittal said the life span of each satellite is about eight years and the company has backup satellites to replace the ones that go out of operation.

According to him, OneWeb will not go direct to the end customer but would partner with the telecom players and others across the globe to offer its services.

As regards the markets, Mittal said, the US, Canada and Europe are large markets and Africa is also coming up in a big way.

He said the satellite communication sector will see mergers and acquisitions and finally a handful of players like OneWeb, Starlink, SpaceX, Amazon and Jio will be there.

As a matter of fact, OneWeb and Eutelsat are in the final stages of merger, Mittal said.

According to him, it takes about three months for satellites put into orbit to come into operation.

On the investment made by OneWeb, Mittal said about $6 billion has gone into the venture. He also said while the initial capex will be high, the operational cost will be low in the case of satellite communications.



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