Hughes and Airtel form enterprise satellite broadband joint venture in India

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Image by Zyabich | Bigstockphoto

Bharti Airtel, India’s second largest telco, has formed a joint venture with Hughes Communications India, a majority-owned subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems, to provide satellite broadband services in India.

Hughes holds 67% in the new joint venture while Airtel holds the remaining 33%. The new entity is operational as HCIPL and will offer flexible and scalable enterprise networking solutions using satellite connectivity for primary transport, back-up and hybrid implementation.

The agreement, originally announced in May 2019, has now received all statutory approvals, including those from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Ajay Chitkara, director and chief executive officer of Airtel Business, said that the combined capabilities of Airtel and Hughes will enable customers to get access to next-generation satellite connectivity backed by “proven enterprise grade security and service support.”

“We at Airtel are focused on supporting and accelerating the digital transformation journeys of our customers through an integrated solutions portfolio,” Chitakara added.

Combining the VSAT businesses of both companies, HCIPL has a combined base of over 200,000 VSATs, making it the largest satellite services operator in India. HCIPL says it is also well positioned amid the changing regulatory environment to serve the emerging connectivity requirements of business and government customers with an enhanced product portfolio and operational efficiencies, both companies said in a joint statement.

HCIPL provides broadband networking technologies, solutions and services, including a full range of managed network services, for government offices and enterprises across segments like banking, aeronautical and maritime mobility, small to medium sized businesses, education, and telecom backhaul, among others.

“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,” said Partho Banerjee, president and managing director of HCIPL.

The new venture will also serve as the distributor of  OneWeb’s upcoming satellite broadband services in India from around May this year. OneWeb is backed by Airtel’s parent company Bharti Group.

Also, last year OneWeb received investment from Hughes Network Systems LLC. Both companies also entered into an MoU for a strategic agreement to distribute services to large enterprises, small and medium businesses, government, telcos and ISPs, including in the rural and remote parts of India.

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