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Satcom an expensive alternative to broadband, fibre cable

9 May 2024

Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb partnered with ISRO to launch 36 satellites into Earth’s orbit. Reliance Jio bought a majority stake in Skytran and SES for equipment.

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are engaged in a war to introduce Satellite Communication (Satcom) in India. Airtel invested USD3.3 billion in OneWeb that tied up with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch 36 more satellites into the Earth’s lower orbit, bringing the total to 618. 

Reliance Jio acquired a majority stake in US-based Skytran in 2020 and bought Luxembourg-based SES in 2023 for USD 100 million for equipment and gateway. 

A Satcom 1 GB plan can cost the user ₹5,000 and the equipment ₹60,000. Hence, only big businesses may initially invest in this tech.

Satcom is expected to offer good connectivity to remote areas, especially where fibre cable cannot reach. However, its signals travel large distances, thus taking time to reach the user and causing delays in live communication. Also, bad weather or dense green coverage can cause problems in transmission and communication.

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