Eutelsat OneWeb, a global satellite communications (satcom) company, will target B2B (business-t0-business) space in India. The satcom player was one of the first companies to receive the necessary approvals from the government of India and the regulator to offer satellite broadband services in the country. Eutelsat OneWeb showcased its solutions at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2023 and they are currently not meant for consumers. Airtel will play a major role in the distribution of Eutelsat OneWeb’s services in the country. Being one of the largest telecom operators and part of the Bharti Group, Airtel has the experience and the relationships with enterprises that will certainly benefit Eutelsat OneWeb on its India journey.
According to a Business Standard report, a senior-level Airtel executive said that while India’s majority of the population is under mobile network coverage, there’s still a large coverage gap from the perspective of geography, and that is something Eutelsat OneWeb can tap into. The satcom company will not initially compete against the likes of Starlink, that are focused on offering services to regular consumers.
Eutelsat OneWeb is likely to get stiff competition from Ambani-owned Jio Satellite Communications Limited. At the IMC 2023, Jio also showcased the JioSpaceFiber which is also meant for enterprises. Both companies have regulatory approvals for the Indian market and are just waiting for the government to allocate spectrum. Neither of the companies is excited to offer satellite services directly to consumers. This is because the cost of the CPE (consumer premises equipment) is too high and if we compare the prices of Starlink for consumers in international markets, its way too costly for the Indian market.
Even with subsidies the cost of the CPE and the monthly plans don’t work out well for the Indian market in the case of Starlink. Whether this is something that Jio or Airtel can reduce is something only time will tell. Telecom Talk