OneWeb, Hughes Partner on LEO Broadband in India

Image: OneWeb

OneWeb has struck up a six-year partnership with a distributor in India, Hughes Communications India (HCIPL), to sell its broadband services within the country.

OneWeb does not yet have regulatory approval to operate within India. Both OneWeb and Starlink, which was recently ordered by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to stop preselling the service in the country, are waiting on licenses.

  • OneWeb expects regulatory approval within three to six months, Hughes President Pradman Kaul told SpaceNews.
  • There’s no update on the regulatory approval timeline for Starlink. Sanjay Bhargava, former head of Starlink India, said in a December LinkedIn post that the company was hoping to apply for a license by the end of January. Bhargava resigned Dec. 31.

Strategic partnership: HCIPL is the largest satellite services provider in India, operating ~200,000 very small aperture terminals (VSATs). The newly formed venture combined local telco Bharti Airtel and Hughes Network Systems. 

The VSATs currently connect to satellites in GEO, but this distribution partnership with OneWeb would introduce LEO connectivity. OneWeb is planning to complete deployment of its 648-satellite constellation this year.