Tata Group Partners with Telesat to Roll out Satellite Broadband Services in India

Tata Group Partners with Telesat to Roll out Satellite Broadband Services in India

Tata Group firm Nelco is in discussion with Canadian company Telesat to rollout fast satellite broadband services in India. Telesat’s Lightspeed brand would put it in direct competition with Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Nelco and Telesat would be signing a master services agreement to offer Lightspeed LEO (low-earth orbit) satellite services in India.

PJ Nath, Managing Director, Nelco states, “We are in the process of finalising details of the commercial arrangements.” There would be no separate joint venture company with Telesat.

Like Telesat, OneWeb, Amazon and SpaceX are all intending to enter India’s satellite services segment. The Canadian company proposes to bid satellite broadband services on the Ka-band or 28 GHz band globally.

India is seen as a key satellite market as around 75 percent of rural India is devoid of access to broadband, cellular or fibre connectivity. LEO satellites are then seen as a viable alternative.

The Canadian company strategies to invest around $8 billion to build a global constellation of around 298-odd LEO satellites. It plans to launch the Lightspeed satellite internet services in India by 2024. OneWeb and SpaceX are aiming to start internet operations by next year.

The Tata-Telesat company, like OneWeb, is planning to offer bandwidth capacity to operators. Nath said that their focus segment is B2B, and main markets would be cellular backhauls/mobility, remote village connectivity and meeting enterprise needs for reliable connectivity.

The company is planning to put in an application for statutory approvals after the new Spacecom policy clarifies the rules on setting up satellite gateways by overseas non-geostationary satellite system operators or LEO satellite service providers.