LONDON – OneWeb, the global communications network powered from space, announces today that it has secured $550 million in funding from Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL), bringing OneWeb's total funding to $1.9 billion in fresh equity. 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.
Eutelsat, one of the world's leading satellite operators, will receive a c.24% equity stake in OneWeb and similar governance rights to the U.K. Government and Bharti Global, making it a significant equity partner and joining leading investors including the U.K. Government, Bharti Global and SoftBank. The investment is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.
OneWeb's 648 LEO satellite fleet will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. 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. 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 OneWeb completes the full deployment of the constellation, the company anticipates annual revenues of approximately $1 billion in year three or soon thereafter, thanks to its partnership driven, wholesale business plan.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises 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. 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."
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.
"Eutelsat brings more than forty years of experience in the global satellite industry and this exciting new partnership puts OneWeb on a strong commercial footing, and the UK at the forefront of the latest developments in low Earth orbit technology.
"This comes alongside yesterday's exciting news that a further 36 satellites were launched into space and demonstrates the momentum behind OneWeb and the promising efforts to provide connectivity to some of the world's most remote places."
Neil Masterson, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, said: "We are delighted with the investment from Eutelsat, which validates our strategy, technology and commercial approach. We now have 80% of the necessary financing for the Gen 1 fleet, of which nearly 30% 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. We are confident in OneWeb's right-to-win thanks to its earliness to market, priority spectrum rights and evolving, scalable technology. With more than 40 years' expertise in the global satellite industry, we look forward to working alongside the UK Government, Bharti and the other shareholders to open new opportunities and market access to ensure OneWeb maximises its potential."
OneWeb's mission is to deliver broadband connectivity worldwide to its customers, to bridge the global digital divide by offering data connectivity, facilitating linkage to the Internet of Things (IoT) future and a pathway to 5G. OneWeb's LEO 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.
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.