Hughes Communications India Pvt Ltd, (HCIPL), a majority-owned arm of US-based satellite operator Hughes Network Systems, and Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel have formed a joint venture to provide satellite broadband services in India. Hughes will hold 67% in the new JV while Airtel will hold the balance 33% stake, a person with direct knowledge told Economic Times. The new JV, he added, will also be the distributor of Bharti-backed OneWeb’s upcoming satellite broadband services in India from around May.
“Combining the proven capabilities of both Hughes and Airtel, the partnership will bring synergies to the forefront – including multi-orbit solutions – for the benefit of customers across the length and breadth of India,”Partho Banerjee, president and managing director, HCIPL, said in a media statement Wednesday.
Operational as HCIPL, the entity combines the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) businesses of both companies to offer flexible and scalable enterprise networking solutions using satellite connectivity for primary transport, back-up and hybrid implementation.
“with the combined capabilities of Airtel and Hughes, customers will get access to next-generation satellite connectivity backed by proven enterprise-grade security and service support”.Ajay Chitkara, chief executive officer, Airtel Business said
The agreement, originally announced in May 2019, has received all statutory approvals, including those from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
On the one hand where Bharti backed OneWeb is gearing up for commercial rollouts, on the other hand Elon Musk’s Starlink is refunding the bookings of it’s pre orders in India underthe directive of DoT as SpaceX has failed to acquire the requisite licenses. In a related development, Starlink Idia’s head Sanjay Bhargava has quit the company under the pretext of personal reasons, which further raises questions on the future of Starlink in India.