India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has instructed satellite connectivity provider Starlink to stop taking pre-orders, as the company is not yet licensed to provide satellite internet services in India. In a statement from the ministry, the government warned the public not to subscribe to services advertised by the Elon Musk-backed firm and instructed the operator to refrain from booking or rendering satellite internet services with immediate effect. The notice explained that the provision of satellite services in India requires licences from the DoT and clarified that Starlink has not yet obtained licences or authorisations from the Indian government for the services that are being advertised on its website. As such, the DoT has asked the company to ‘comply with the Indian regulatory framework’ and secure a concession for taking any further bookings.
Elon Musk’s aerospace firm SpaceX registered a subsidiary in India on 1 November 2021 under the name Starlink Satellite Communications Private Limited (SSCPL). The company has been taking pre-orders since March this year, however, the Economic Times writes, citing the head of Starlink India Sanjay Bhargava. According to the official, the company has already taken 5,000 pre-orders and expects to have 200,000 active terminals (subscriptions) by December 2022. Starlink’s early acceptance of pre-orders has reportedly sparked demands for regulatory intervention.