Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) has selected satellite and enterprise network services provider Hughes Communications India to deploy and manage a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) across its 10,800-site retail network of consumer petroleum stations, in a five-year contract valued at over ₹100 crore, the companies said in a joint statement earlier today.
The Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) refers to the enterprise network connectivity that IOCL will use at its fuel stations in order to run its operations.
In a statement, a Hughes spokesperson said that the services that the company will provide include “retail automation and critical business processes, payment processing, daily price updates, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) software and network monitoring,” among others.
To be sure, this is not the first network services operations deal that Hughes has signed in India. The company already works with Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, Nayara Energy and Reliance-BP Mobility to offer enterprise grade network connectivity across 25,000 petroleum stations across India.
While Hughes will use dual 4G ground network terminals to offer connectivity across IOCL’s petroleum stations, such sectors may in future pivot to using satellite connectivity services in India. These services, once operational, could power a wide range of enterprise connections across India, Shivaji Chatterjee, senior vice president at Hughes India told Mint in March.
“From April, when our high throughput satellite (HTS) services go live, we will start offering satellite internet aimed at MSMEs (micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises). We’re targeting the entire east and north-east India, and the hilly areas of Himachal, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and so on. These are the areas where there's big demand, and the terrestrial infrastructure is poor compared to the western, central and southern parts of India. This will start as a 2-10 Mbps service for satellite internet,” Chatterjee told Mint earlier this year.
Satellite internet services, which include players such as SpaceX’s Starlink and Reliance Jio’s SES, alongside Airtel-OneWeb, are expected to compete alongside terrestrial networks in India, going forward.