According to Business Standard, US-based mobile satellite communications company Iridium Communications Inc. has made motions to re-enter India, thirteen years after stopping services in the country, to establish a lasting gateway in the country. Iridium is in talks with state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and MTNL along with a few key individuals to erect Iridium India. Due to the India’s policy on foreign direct investment (FDI) in satellite mobile services, Iridium is allowed to hold up to 49 percent stake through the automatic route and up to a maximum 74 percent after requisite approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Iridium CEO Matthew J Desch hopes to finalize the partners in India and then apply for a license. His goal is to set up the gateway by the middle of 2014 for $25 million. Iridium is also setting up similar gateways in China and Russia, investing a total of $50 million over a few years.
Iridium currently has about 600,000 users globally and has plans in India to target areas such as public safety, military, defense, oil and gas, forestry, and aviation. Desch expects to get 50,000-100,000 customers in India alone in addition to a majority share of an estimated $60 million market for satellite mobile communications over the next few years.