Starlink to return satellite internet pre-orders in India

Starlink has started emailing users in India offering refunds on their pre-orders. The satellite internet division of billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX says it has been directed by the Department of Telecommunications to return pre-orders until the company’s internet service is licensed in India. The company was earlier believed to be working on launching its services in ten rural Lok Sabha constituencies in India. India was considered one of its major markets.

The company has now emailed customers in India saying that it has been instructed to return pre-orders until they are licensed by DoT. Gadgets 360 has seen a copy of the email sent to customers who pre-registered for the service. The reason, provided by Starlink in the email, is that the timeline for obtaining a license to operate in India is “currently unknown” and that the company has “several issues” to allow Starlink to operate in India. Must be resolved within the licensing framework.

Back in December, Starlink country director Sanjay Bhargava said the company expected to apply for a commercial license on or before January 31. A presentation by Bhargava reportedly states that the company aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, if it can roll out the services in the country by April. Starlink is said to have received over 5,000 pre-orders for its satellite internet service in India, but the company recently stopped taking pre-orders pending regulatory approval.

Starlink had earlier registered its business in the country in November. Starlink Satellite Communications Pvt Ltd will allow the company to apply for a license before providing services to users in India. As mentioned earlier, the company was reportedly targeting to provide high-speed internet in ten rural Lok Sabha constituencies for 80 percent of Starlink terminals shipped in India, according to a company executive.

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As a writer on technology with Gadgets 360, David Delima has an interest in open-source technology, cyber security, consumer privacy, and loves to read and write about how the Internet works. David can be contacted via email at [email protected], as well as on Twitter at @DxDavey. more

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