Govt’s Notice To Elon Musk: Don’t Start Telecom Business In India, Stop Taking Money From Indians
Elon Musk’s satellite network Starlink has been hit by the Indian telecom authorities for the second time recently for its operations in the country, without having generated a proper licence.
This time, it is the telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that has slapped a notice to the satellite broadband arm of SpaceX, Starlink in a directive dated December 7.
TRAI has notified Starlink to prohibit from asking for any telecom business or collect any related fees for its telecom related business services in India without having necessary authorisations.
About a week prior to TRAI’s notice, the Department of Telecommunications sent a notification to Musk’s satellite service provider arm in India, to discontinue seeking pre-bookings for its services in the country as it does not have any licence to do so.
Starlink Slapped by Another Blow in India
In an attempt to provide high-speed internet connectivity services for rural areas and those where fiber optic cables and cell towers are unable to reach, the American aerospace company SpaceX has set up the Starlink network, which provides satellite broadband services.
In February 2021, Stralink rolled out pre-reservation invites in India, for services it would provide in 2022. A deposit fee of $99 would ensure the user’s place for the purchase of the Starlink equipment.
However, the Department of Telecommunications barred the company from seeking pre-bookings for its internet services in India because it does hold any local licence.
In response to this, Starlink’s India head Sanjay Bhargava ensured that it would apply for a commercial licence in India by January 31, and targets to install about 2 lakh terminals in the country by the end of 2022, provided the rollouts start by April.
The company has for the time being withdrawn its pre-bookings offer.
Now, just days after receiving a blow from the DoT, Starlink has received another notification from TRAI, as per a directive on Dec 7, cited by TOI.
The telecom regulatory has asked Starlink to not “solicit any telecom business or collect any related fees” in the country without the necessary authorisations.
“Starlink Internet Services is required to desist from soliciting telecom business and collecting related fees…etc, without having received necessary authorisations and adhering to relevant statutory provisions,” stated the regulator.
“As per Section 11 (2) of the TRAI Act, 1997, it may, from time to time, by order, notify in the official Gazette the rates at which the telecommunication services within India and outside India shall be provided”, added TRAI.