In a recent move, Japan’s SoftBank Group and Hughes Network Systems LLC have invested $400M (approx €331M) in OneWeb, a London-based global communications company. This brings OneWeb’s total funding to $1.4B (approx €1.1B).
It’s worth mentioning that Hughes is an investor through its parent company EchoStar, and also an ecosystem partner, developing essential ground network technology for the OneWeb system.
Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, adds, “We have made rapid progress to re-start the business since emerging from Chapter 11 in November. We welcome the investments by SoftBank and Hughes as further proof of progress towards delivering our goal.”
Fully funded for its first-gen satellite fleet
The capital raised to date positions the Company to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totaling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022. With this funding, SoftBank will gain a seat on the OneWeb Board of Directors.
Founded by Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s mission is to deliver broadband connectivity worldwide by offering everyone, everywhere access including to the Internet of Things (IoT) future and a pathway to 5G.
The company’s LEO (Low Earth Orbit ) satellite system includes a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals for different customer markets capable of delivering affordable, fast, high-bandwidth, and low-latency communications services.
Launched 36 satellites
Back in December 2020, OneWeb launched 36 new satellites, built at its Airbus Joint Venture assembly plant in Florida, USA, bringing the Company’s total fleet to 110 satellites, all fully-functioning and benefitting from the International Telecommunication Union spectrum priority.
Filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Back in March 2020, the UK company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to secure $2B (approx €1.65B) financing from SoftBank. However, a consortium of the UK Government (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global invested $1B (approx €828M) of new equity as a part of the resurrecting process.
Pradman Kaul, President of Hughes, remarked, “OneWeb continues to inspire the industry and attract the best players in the business to come together to bring its LEO constellation to fruition. The investments made today by Hughes and SoftBank will help realise the full potential of OneWeb in connecting enterprise, government, and mobility customers, especially with multi-transport services that complement our own geostationary offerings in meeting and accelerating demand for broadband around the world.”