Elon Musk dropped the ball. But Jeff Bezos seems to have noticed. Or so it all seems now. A few months ago, SpaceX, run by Musk, withdrew its Starlink internet project in India. Now, by chance, the company headed by Bezos seems interested in bringing its own ambitious ‘Project Kuiper’ broadband to India.
While Amazon hasn’t made any of these plans official, the fact that it has announced a handful of manager jobs in India for the project makes room for such reading. Job listings on the Amazon website were first identified and reported by TechCrunch. Some of the listings on the page appear to have been taken down after the news was published.
But it wouldn’t be a surprise if Amazon doubled down on its investments in India, as the country is the world’s second-largest internet market.
Amazon will have many rivals in India
Amazon’s Kuiper project, announced in 2019, aims to bring high-speed satellite broadband to communities and regions that are too remote and underdeveloped for fiber broadband providers to reach. Of course, this is also the stated plan of the Starlink project. But the latter fell apart in India after the company ran afoul of Indian telecommunications laws. The Telecommunications Ministry suspended him for illegally accepting pre-orders. The ministry warned users not to pre-order Starlink’s satellite internet service and said the company is illegally accepting such orders. After that, things went downhill for Starlink as she began to abandon the project and began relieving her hired staff.
Amazon has received the go-ahead from US authorities to assemble a fleet of internet satellites from space that could have 3,200 satellites. In April, it obtained release rights for up to 83 releases. Amazon struck a deal with launch providers Arianespace, United Launch Alliance and Bezos’ own company Blue Origin. Amazon is pumping billions of dollars into the project, and it would make sense for it to come to India, as the market here for internet services is always growing. Despite the fact that India’s data rates are among the lowest in the world, only 43% of India’s population has internet access.
While the Musk company may be out of the running, Amazon will find big rivals to contend with in India. For the record, Indian players such as OneWeb, owned by Bharti-Airtel, and Nelco, owned by the Tata Group, are also keen to advance in the sector. In addition, Jio Platforms and Luxembourg-based SES also announced a joint venture to provide high-performance satellite-based broadband services across India.