NEW DELHI: Elon Musk’s satellite internet company Starlink is facing a tough time in the Indian market after it quietly rolled out internet services in the country in early 2021 only to shut down services after government intervention. Now, Starlink’s India head Sanjay Bhargava has announced that he has quit the company.
Bhargava in a LinkedIn post said, “I have stepped down as Country Director and Chairman of the Board of Starlink India for personal reasons. My last working day was December 31, 2021. I will have no comments for individuals and the media so please respect my privacy.”
In November 2021, the Department of Telecommunications warned Indian citizens to not buy Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet Services In India as the same is not yet licensed in the country. In a statement, the telecom department told Elon Musk’s company to “get a licence before offering Satellite-based services.”
The government pointed out that ‘Starlink Internet Services’ is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India being advertised to the public.
“It has come to notice that M/s Starlink has started pre-selling/booking of the satellite based Starlink Internet Services in India. The same is also evident from the website of Starlink (www.starlink.com) wherein satellite based internet services can be booked by users in Indian territory,” said the government.
In another development, the government had asked the company to refund all its pre-orders until it received a licence to operate in the country. “As has always been the case, you can receive a refund at any time, the company said in an email to one of its customers. Reuters has seen a copy of the email.
Starlink, a division of Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company, has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India but is struggling to receive commercial licences without which it cannot offer any services in the country.
“Unfortunately, the timeline for receiving licences to operate is currently unknown, and there are several issues that must be resolved with the licensing framework to allow us to operate Starlink in India,” the company said in the email.