OneWeb backing soars with $550M boost from Eutelsat - Mobile World Live

OneWeb backing soars with $550M boost from Eutelsat

28 APR 2021

Satellite communications company OneWeb secured another financial injection for its global connectivity ambitions, as operator Eutelsat joined a line of investors with a contribution of $550 million.

Eutelsat will get an approximately 24 per cent equity stake and board representation, with similar governance rights to earlier backers of OneWeb, including the UK Government and a division of Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises.

Following the deal, which is expected to close in H2 subject to regulatory approvals, OneWeb will command $1.9 billion funding for its vision to close the digital gap by bringing connectivity worldwide through Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.

CEO Neil Masterson said after the transaction it will have 80 per cent of the funds needed to launch its first-generation fleet of 648 satellites. Of those, nearly 30 per cent (182 satellites) were already off the ground.

OneWeb expects annual revenue of around $1 billion in a period of at least three years after the constellation deployment.

The two companies said the tie-up will boost their respective commercial potential.

Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer expressed confidence the company’s 40 years of experience in the satellite industry will help “open new opportunities and market access to ensure OneWeb maximises its potential”.

After filing for bankruptcy in March 2020, OneWeb’s operations were saved by consecutive funding from a consortium led by the UK Government and Bharti Global, Hughes Network Systems and SoftBank Group.

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Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Yanitsa joins Mobile World Live as a Reporter based in London. She has more than 5 years’ experience at various media outlets in her home country Bulgaria. She started her career as a political reporter, followed by taking editor roles...

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