Jio Platforms – the digital services arm of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and parent company of full-service provider Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) – has formed a 51/49 joint venture with Luxembourg-based satellite solutions provider SES to provide broadband services in India via satellite. The JV, dubbed Jio Space Technology, will use multi-orbit space networks using a combination of geostationary (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) satellite constellations to deliver ‘multi-gigabit links and capacity to enterprises, mobile backhaul and retail customers’. The JV will use SES’s SES-12 GEO satellite and O3b mPower MEO constellation to ‘extend and complement’ Jio’s existing terrestrial network, and will have initially have availability of up to 100Gbps. Meanwhile, Jio will offer managed services and gateway infrastructure operations services to the JV. In addition, Jio has signed on as an anchor customer of the JV with a multi-year capacity purchase agreement.
Jio’s director, Akash Ambani, was quoted as saying of the tie-up: ‘This new joint venture with SES will further accelerate the growth of multigigabit broadband. With additional coverage and capacity offered by satellite communications services, Jio will be able to connect the remotest towns and villages, enterprises, government establishments, and consumers to the new Digital India. We are excited about this new journey combining our massive reach and customer base with SES’s innovative leadership and expertise in the satellite industry.’
In a related development, meanwhile, the Economic Times reported this month that the recently-established Jio Satellite Communications Limited (JSCL) has applied to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for a Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS) licence. The operator was reportedly the second company to apply for a licence, following on the heels of Bharti Airtel’s OneWeb division. For its part, OneWeb completed the launch of an additional 34 satellites last week, bringing its total low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to 428 orbiters. The company is planning to launch a total of 648 satellites.