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Reliance Jio Poised to Unleash Satellite-Based Gigabit Fibre Services Nationwide

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is on the verge of obtaining crucial landing rights and market access permissions from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), a move deemed essential for the telecom giant’s satellite-based gigabit fibre services roll out across India, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Reliance Jio

All About the Reliance Jio Satellite-Based Gigabit Fibre Service

Insiders revealed to ET that Reliance Jio has successfully submitted all necessary documentation to IN-SPACe, the regulatory body overseeing the space industry, with the much-anticipated authorizations expected imminently. These approvals are indispensable for deploying global satellite bandwidth capacity within the country.

The IN-SPACe authorization process, known for its complexity, involves approvals from multiple ministries and rigorous security clearances. In the previous year, Jio Platforms entered into a partnership with Luxembourg-based satellite communications firm SES, establishing a 51:49 joint venture aimed at providing broadband connectivity through satellites. This strategic move positioned Jio in competition with players like Eutelsat OneWeb, Elon Musk’s Starlink, Amazon, and the Tata’s.

image 107 Reliance Jio Poised to Unleash Satellite-Based Gigabit Fibre Services Nationwide

Although Jio’s satellite unit secured a GMPCS (global mobile personal communications by satellite services) license from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the IN-SPACe authorizations are still pending. Currently, Eutelsat OneWeb, supported by Bharti, is the only global satellite constellation operator to have obtained crucial approvals from IN-SPACe.

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Both Eutelsat OneWeb and the Jio-SES alliance are racing for an early advantage in India’s growing satellite communications market, contending with formidable competitors like Starlink, Amazon, and the Tatas. Jio’s President, Mathew Oommen, recently highlighted the capability of Jio’s satellite services unit to launch JioSpaceFiber services within weeks of spectrum allocation.

image 108 Reliance Jio Poised to Unleash Satellite-Based Gigabit Fibre Services Nationwide

With the enactment of the new Telecommunications Act of 2023 offering legislative support for the administrative allocation of satellite spectrum, insiders expect an expedited process through DoT. IN-SPACe’s recent projection indicates that India’s space economy could potentially reach $44 billion by 2033, marking a substantial increase from its current 2% global share to an anticipated 8%.

Satellite-based internet operates by deploying a constellation of small satellites orbiting the Earth to provide internet access. Key aspects include global coverage, the use of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites for reduced latency, high-speed internet comparable to traditional wired connections, ease of installation with small satellite dishes and modems, and challenges such as latency, weather interference, and potential service interruptions during satellite transitions.

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