SpaceX’s Starlink had received over 5000 pre-orders for its devices from India alone. The company had even set up a subsidiary in the country. However, SpaceX’s ambitions for Starlink in India had been dealt a blow when the Indian government asked the public not to subscribe to its service.
The reason? It did not have a license to operate in the country and thus had to refrain from booking and rendering satellite-based internet services in India.
In what may be termed as the sequel to this development, Starlink has now informed users that it will be offering refunds on their pre-orders. So if you had been one of those who had pre-ordered, now is your chance to seek your refund. Until it receives the license required to operate in the country, Starlink will remain out of reach for India.
The company emailed users, saying that it was “looking forward to making Starlink available in India as soon as possible,” but it does not have clarity on the “timeline for receiving licenses to operate,” and that there were “several issues” with the licensing framework to be resolved before Starlink would operate in India. It also informed that it had been asked by the Department of Telecommunications to refund pre-orders until the company licensed its Internet service in India.
If you want a refund, log in to your account and click on “Cancel and Request Refund’. The refund will be issued immediately and may take up to 10 days to reflect in your account.
It is interesting to note though, that this may sound like an advantage to OneWeb, a similar service that went bust, got acquired by Indian telecom major Airtel, which infused nearly $1Bn to revive it back. One’s loss is another’s gain after all.
This begs the question, when will Starlink receive the license to operate in the country? Last year (December, to be more specific), Starlink Country Director Sanjay Bhargava had said that the company had hoped to apply for a commercial license on or before January 31.
Elon Musk’s brainchild to provide high-speed, low-latency internet to the rest of the world irrespective of geographical barriers is a big deal in the rest of the world. SpaceX had been launching a batch of Starlink satellites in space last year. SpaceX had also completed shipping 100,000 Starlink terminals to customers across the globe by August 2021. Additionally, it had plans to roll out 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022. Now, unless Starlink gets the license, those plans might not come true.