Hughes and Airtel form JV to provide satellite broadband services

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New Delhi: Hughes and Airtel have formed a joint venture (JV) to provide satellite broadband services in India. With this JV, both companies have combined India VSAT operations that will offer satellite and hybrid network solutions to enterprise customers in India.

Hughes Communications India Pvt Ltd, (HCIPL) is a majority-owned subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES).

Hughes has been dominating the Indian market with over 129,724 VSAT internet subscribers as per market stats dated – June 2021. While Tatanet and Bharti Airtel hold the second and third spot in terms of total user base with 74,704 and 66,919 subscribers respectively.

Operational as HCIPL, the entity combines the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) businesses of both companies to offer flexible and scalable enterprise networking solutions using satellite connectivity for primary transport, backup, and hybrid implementation.

Back in May 2019, Hughes and Airtel had signed an agreement to work jointly in the area of satellite broadband services. Under which, Airtel had agreed to merge its VSAT business with Hughes India unit HCIPL according to a media report.

After a wait of two years, this agreement has finally received all the statutory and government clearances. That includes the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and Department of Telecom (Government of India) and the joint venture has been formed.

“We are pleased to commence this joint venture. Further delivering on our commitment to serving the growing demand for always-on, always-available network connectivity for enterprise and government customers,” said Partho Banerjee, President, and MD – HCIPL.

“Combining the proven capabilities of both Hughes and Airtel, the partnership will bring synergies to the forefront – including multi-orbit solutions – for the benefit of customers across the length and breadth of India,” added Banerjee.

“With the combined capabilities of Airtel and Hughes, customers will get access to next-generation satellite connectivity backed by proven enterprise-grade security and service support,” said Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO – Airtel Busines.

HCIPL has a combined base of over 200,000 VSATs, including Airtel VSAT customers. It is the largest satellite service operator in India. It provides broadband networking technologies, solutions, and managed services for government offices and enterprises across segments.  

Global VSAT market size is projected to touch $13.7 billion in 2025 from $9.5 billion in 2020. The global VSAT market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2020 to 2025, according to industry estimates.

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