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India Regulatory Delays Stall OneWeb Coverage Target

Eutelsat’s ambitious goal of extending OneWeb’s low Earth orbit (LEO) broadband constellation to 90% of the globe faces setbacks due to regulatory hurdles in India. The French satellite operator disclosed on May 14 that delays in regulatory approvals from Indian authorities have disrupted its plans to achieve comprehensive coverage by the summer.

Regulatory Roadblocks in India

Eutelsat secured initial permission last year from IN-SPACe, India’s space regulatory body, to deliver commercial satellite broadband services. However, the allocation of radio waves by the Indian government remains pending, impeding the company’s progress toward its mid-2024 coverage objective.

Striving for Global Connectivity

Despite encountering obstacles in India, Eutelsat remains steadfast in its efforts to expand OneWeb’s reach. With 633 satellites orbiting in LEO, the operator had initially aimed to commence global services in early 2024. However, delays in regulatory clearances and the deployment of network gateways have contributed to a shift in timelines.

Financial Implications and Revenue Prospects

Eutelsat underscores the significance of the Indian market, citing substantial contracts for LEO broadband capacity. These contracts, part of a 3.9 billion euro backlog of future revenues, signify the pivotal role of connectivity services in driving the company’s growth trajectory. Eutelsat anticipates that a substantial portion of its revenue growth will stem from OneWeb, eclipsing contributions from its legacy geostationary satellite fleet.

Diversification and Market Trends

Eutelsat’s strategic pivot towards connectivity services reflects a broader industry shift away from traditional satellite TV offerings. Revenue streams from fixed and mobile connectivity, alongside government contracts, have surged, compensating for declines in video-related revenues. The company’s collaboration with NEOM Tech & Digital Company in Saudi Arabia exemplifies its commitment to exploring new markets and opportunities.

Navigating Competitive Landscape

Despite intensifying competition, particularly from SpaceX’s Starlink and SES’s proposed acquisition of Intelsat, Eutelsat remains resolute in its strategy. The company downplays concerns about market saturation, expressing confidence in its ability to maintain a significant market share within the burgeoning LEO broadband market. Additionally, Eutelsat continues to explore partnerships and investment opportunities to fortify its position in the evolving landscape.

Future Prospects and Investment Initiatives

Eutelsat remains optimistic about potential collaborations with external infrastructure investors to bolster its ground network. Discussions are underway to establish a specialized network infrastructure investment entity, leveraging the company’s expertise in both GEO and LEO technologies. Bloomberg reports suggest that Eutelsat’s ground network assets hold substantial value, positioning the company favorably for strategic alliances and ventures.

In conclusion, while regulatory delays in India pose challenges, Eutelsat remains steadfast in its commitment to realizing OneWeb’s global connectivity vision. Through strategic diversification, navigating market dynamics, and exploring investment opportunities, the company endeavors to maintain its leadership position in the evolving satellite communications landscape.


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