OneWeb, the global communications company with a vision to make broadband internet services available throughout the world, has just announced that it has successfully raised funds worth $550 million in a recent round of funding by Eutelsat Communications. This implies that the investor, which also happens to be one of the world’s most well known and popular satellite operator company, will become the owner of around 24% of the satellite communications company, which is backed by the Bharti-group.
As per a statement issued by the company, this funding will take its total funding to date, up to $1.9 billion in terms of fresh equity. The statement further reads, “This investment from one of the world’s most experienced and largest 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.”
This move will provide Eutelsat with governance rights that are in line with, and similar to, those owned by the British Government, and Bharti Global, and will make it roughly at par with the two, along with the other prominent investor, SoftBank. The investment is currently underway, and will, under all possibility, be completed by the second half of this year, if all goes well with statutory approvals.
The partnership with Eutelsat, one of the world’s leading geostationary satellite operators, will come to fruition through the 648 LEO satellite fleet at OneWeb, which will be capable of delivering high speed global connectivity at low latency. This collaboration is deemed to be lucrative for both companies, as OneWeb will be able to ride on the investor’s global reach to various governments and customers, along with its robust technical expertise and institutional relationships. Eutelsat, on the other hand, said, “OneWeb’s ability to address multiple applications requiring low latency and ubiquity will also allow both companies to explore GEO/LEO configurations for future service integrations and packages.”
After successful deployment of the entire satellite constellation, OneWeb may be looking towards annual revenues worth almost $1 billion, which will apparently become available around year 3 or soon after.
Bharti Enterprises, which is a parent of sorts to OneWeb, expressed joy towards the partnership, through Sunil Mittal, Founder and Chairman who said, “We are delighted to welcome Eutelsat into the OneWeb family. As an open multi-national business, we are committed to serving the global needs of governments, businesses and communities across the world”.
He also added, “Together we are stronger, benefitting from the entrepreneurial energy of Bharti, the extensive global outreach of the UK Government and the expertise in the satellite industry at Eutelsat. OneWeb, with its innovative and disruptive approach, is poised to take a leading position in LEO broadband connectivity.”
While this investment serves as a major boost to the satellite plans for OneWeb, it also means that Eutelsat, which is 20% owned by the French state, has made the competition with the Elon Musk-led SpaceX, much more fierce. Both OneWeb and SpaceX seek to launch satellite constellations into the low earth orbit (LEO) for delivering high-speed broadband connectivity, and while SpaceX has been sending it’s Starlink satellites to space at an unmatched speed, OneWeb might not be too far behind now, as it receives major funding for its project.