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Jio Platforms, SES form JV for satellite-based broadband services in India

Jio and SES to own 51% and 49% equity stake in Jio Space Technology, respectively.

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Mumbai: Indian digital service provider Jio Platforms Ltd (JPL) and SES, a Luxembourg-headquartered global satellite-based content connectivity solutions provider on Monday announced the formation of a joint venture – Jio Space Technology – to deliver the next generation scalable and affordable broadband services in India leveraging satellite technology. JPL and SES will own 51 per cent and 49 per cent equity stake in the joint venture, respectively. 

"The joint venture will use multi-orbit space networks that are a combination of geostationary (GEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite constellations, capable of delivering multi-gigabit links and capacity to enterprises, mobile backhaul, and retail customers across the length and breadth of India and neighbouring regions," said the statement.

The joint venture will be the vehicle for providing SES’s satellite data and connectivity services in India, except for certain international aeronautical and maritime customers who may be served by SES. It will have availability of up to 100 Gbps capacity from SES and will leverage Jio’s premiere position and sales reach in India to unlock this market opportunity, the statement further said.

As part of the investment plan, the joint venture will develop extensive gateway infrastructure in India to provide services within the country. Jio, as an anchor customer of the joint venture, has entered into a multi-year capacity purchase agreement, based on certain milestones along with gateways and equipment purchases with a total contract value of circa $100 million.

“While we continue to expand our fibre-based connectivity and FTTH business and invest in 5G, this new joint venture with SES will further accelerate the growth of multigigabit broadband," said Jio director Akash Ambani. "With additional coverage and capacity offered by satellite communications services, Jio will be able to connect the remotest towns and villages, enterprises, government establishments, and consumers to the new ‘Digital India’. We are excited about this new journey combining our massive reach and customer base with SES’s innovative leadership and expertise in the satellite industry.”

The joint venture will leverage SES-12, SES’s high-throughput GEO satellite serving India and O3b mPOWER, SES’s next-generation MEO constellation to extend and complement Jio’s terrestrial network, thereby increasing access to digital services and applications. Jio will offer managed services and gateway infrastructure operations services to the joint venture.

As Covid-19 has demonstrated, access to broadband is imperative for full participation in the new digital economy. This joint venture will be a catalyst for connecting the unconnected areas within India and the region to the full range of digital services, offering access to remote health, government services, and distance learning opportunities.

“This joint venture with JPL is a great example of how SES can complement even the most extensive terrestrial networks to deliver high-quality connectivity, and positively affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people. We look forward to this joint venture whereby we can play a role in promoting digital inclusion in India,” stated SES CEO Steve Collar.

The joint venture also aligns with the prime minister’s ‘Gati Shakti: National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity’ initiative to provide integrated and seamless connectivity by implementing diverse infrastructure. It will also accelerate the achievement of the ‘Connect India’ goals in the 2018 National Digital Communications Policy as well as the Digital India programme by expanding broadband connectivity to Indian citizens across Indian geography.

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