India says not to pre-order Starlink until it obtains a license
India has asked the public not to pre-order Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet service, according to a report by Reuters. As the report notes, the Indian government says the company must obtain a license to operate in the country before it starts rolling out its services.
As a result, the Indian government has requested the company to comply with the Indian regulatory framework for the provision of satellite communication services and to refrain from reserving / rendering satellite internet services in India with immediate effect.
– DoT India (@DoT_India) November 26, 2021
“The public is advised not to subscribe to the advertised Starlink services,” read a tweet from the Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The DoT also said it has asked Starlink to refrain from “reserving / returning satellite internet services in India”. In other words, Starlink will have to put preorders on hold until it can get approval from the Indian government.
Starlink came under intense scrutiny by the Indian government in April, when the DoT began examining whether Starlink’s beta deployment violated any of India’s telecommunications laws (via Economic times). As noted by Economic times, the DoT move came as the Broadband India Forum (BIF), an independent political forum that represents big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, pushed the DoT to stop presales of unlicensed Starlink devices.
Reuters states that since Starlink officially registered its business in India on November 1, it has already registered over 5,000 pre-orders in the country. It’s unclear if existing pre-orders will be canceled or if customers will simply have to wait a bit longer. Starlink plans to deploy 200,000 devices in India by 2022, 80 percent of which are located in rural areas (via Reuters).
Currently, Starlink has around 140,000 beta users in 20 different countries, as reported earlier this month by PCMag. Musk predicts that there will be over 500,000 Starlink customers over the next year.