“We never underestimate our competition.And I hope he (Sunil Mittal) doesn’t either,” Mathew Oommen said. Oommen was responding to earlier remarks bySunil Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, who had identified Elon Musk‘s Starlink and Amazon as the only competitors for OneWeb’s satellite communication services over the next 5-6 years.
The battle for dominance in broadband-from-space services appears to be the next frontier after the mobility sector, with industrial titans Mukesh Ambani, who owns Jio Satellite, and Sunil Mittal, whose Bharti Enterprises holds a significant stake in OneWeb. They will face competition from the likes of Elon Musk’s Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper, all eager to launch services swiftly and gain a first-mover advantage.
While the satellite communications market in India is in its early stages, the potential, particularly in rural and remote areas, is substantial. According to an EY-ISpA report, India’s space economy is projected to reach $13 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%.
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On global competition, Oommen said, “I think they (Starlink) should come. In the US, there is an opportunity for Starlink, let them come in, they need to figure out what their business model in India could be.”
Oommen noted that Jio, in partnership with Luxembourg-based satellite provider SES, is well-positioned to launch broadband-from-space services in a matter of weeks once allocated spectrum. He highlighted Jio’s unique position as the first non-geostationary satellite provider (NGSO) in India, boasting gigabit-capable NGSO operations not easily matched by other providers in the near term.
Recently, Sunil Mittal revealed OneWeb’s readiness to connect all parts of India beginning the following month. Oommen, in response to queries about pricing for Jio’s satellite communication services, assured that Jio consistently offers competitive services in any industry it enters.
He expressed support for conducting auctions as the sole method for allocating satcom airwaves, emphasizing that satellite companies would offer services similar to those of telecom operators, views that pitch it against OneWeb’s approach.