Global communications network OneWeb has secured $550 million (around Rs 4,103 crore) in funding from Eutelsat Communications. With this fund, the company’s total funding stands at $1.9 billion in fresh equity. The investment is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.
This investment from one of the global operators is a vote of confidence in OneWeb and underscores the arrival of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites into mainstream long-term growth planning for major operators.
Eutelsat is one of the world’s leading satellite operators. The company will receive a 25 per cent equity stake in OneWeb. Similar governance rights are given to the UK Government and Bharti Global and SoftBank.
OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity and its partnership with Eutelsat, a global geostationary satellite operator, will enhance both companies' commercial potential, leveraging Eutelsat’s established commercial reach to governments and enterprise customers in addition to its strong institutional relationships, recognised technical expertise and global fleet.
After OneWeb completes the full deployment of the constellation, the company anticipates annual revenues of approximately $1 billion in year three or soon thereafter.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises said: “As an open multinational business, we are committed to serving the global needs of governments, businesses and communities across the world..”
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said, “Today’s investment is another giant leap forward for OneWeb in realising their ambition to provide global broadband connectivity around the globe.”
Neil Masterson, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, said, “We now have 80 per cent of the necessary financing for the Gen 1 fleet, of which nearly 30 per cent is already in space. Eutelsat’s global distribution network advances the market entry opportunities for OneWeb and we look forward to working together to capitalise on the growth opportunity and accelerate the pace of execution.”
Commenting on the agreement, Rodolphe Belmer, Eutelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are excited to become a shareholder and partner in OneWeb in the run up to its commercial launch later in the year and to participate in the substantial opportunity represented by the LEO segment within our industry.”
Yesterday, OneWeb successfully launched another 36 satellites into its constellation bringing the system to 182 satellites. The company has only two more launches left in its ‘Five to 50’ programme that will cement the company’s ability to start connectivity services to the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas and Canada, with global service available next year.