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Telesat-Nelco set to offer satellite services in India by 2024

Photo: CBC

Canada-based global satellite operator, Telesat is in talks with Tata group company, Nelco for kickstarting commercial satellite communications or satcom services together by 2024.

Though the tariffs have not yet been as discussions are happening around it, the aim is to offer affordable tariffs to attract business-to-business (B2B) customers in India’s developing market.

Nelco wants to partner with Telesat as the two companies have been working together since 2020 on areas including terrestrial facilities, commercial distribution, and regulatory frameworks.

As a part of the arrangement, the Mumbai-based Nelco will offer Telesat low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite services in India alongside superior enterprise connectivity.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of Indian businesses. Affordable connectivity is a key requirement for Indian enterprises, and the Telesat-Nelco partnership hopes to address this.

With the two companies coming together, the satcom industry is set to see massive growth following technology advancements, light-touch regulations, and heightened demand in data services.

Already Elon Musk-headed SpaceX and, along with several other satellite firms, including Bharti Airtel’s OneWeb and Amazon’s Kuiper, has entered the Indian satellite space recently. This will expectedly heighten the competition in this space.

At the moment, however, Telesat-Nelco is somewhat behind other satellite service providers. SpaceX has already launched the beta version of its services, and OneWeb is set to launch in 2022.

Both firms have adopted a different business model. SpaceX is offering services directly to consumers while OneWeb is focusing only on the communications service provider (CSP) space.

Still, with almost 50 percent of India’s population yet to be connected. Affordable satellite services will go a long way in proving room for many players. Especially as the lack of fiber networks makes it challenging for service providers to address the needs of the country’s growing digital economy.

Meanwhile, with the launch slated in 2024, Telesat-Nelco is working out the business strategy and closer to the date, government permissions, etc will be put into place.

As per plans, Telesat intends to invest around $5 billion to set up a constellation of around 300 low-Earth orbits (LEO) satellites.