TAMPA, Fla. — Indian satellite communications provider Nelco has invested around $121,000 in a network equipment startup based in Mumbai, India, to bolster its services amid a growing competitive threat from international players.

Nelco said in a stock exchange filing that it had bought an initial stake of just over 9% in Piscis Networks, a two-year-old manufacturer of routers designed to make communications infrastructure more efficient.

Piscis specializes in network management technology called SD-WAN — software-defined networking in a wide area network, which Nelco said June 7 would help improve the performance, security, and reliability of its communications services.

Nelco, part of the Tata Group conglomerate that generated $128 billion in revenues last year, can increase its stake to 30% under the deal.  

Founded by technology entrepreneur Mandar Lokegaonkar in July 2021, Piscis recorded sales of about 9.8 million rupees ($119,000) in its latest fiscal year. 

Nelco CEO PJ Nath said taking minority ownership of Piscis would enable the company to provide more integrated services in the country’s evolving satellite communications market.

India released a long-awaited policy in April that established new guidelines and rules for its space ecosystem. The policy aims to give private companies more regulatory clarity for operating in the country, particularly for non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) operators. 

Foreign operators including SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat, and SES have been eagerly awaiting the policy to help pave the way for their push into the country’s market. 

The Indian government is still debating foreign investment rules that were expected to be a part of its space policy.

Nelco has been helping Telesat test its proposed NGSO constellation in India.

This article was updated June 9 with the correct currency conversions for Nelco’s investment and Piscis’ revenues.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...