SoftBank swoops for Loon patents - Mobile World Live

SoftBank swoops for Loon patents

30 SEP 2021

SoftBank Corp acquired 200 patents from Alphabet’s deflated balloon business Loon, with the additional IP set to be used to bolster the Japanese company’s high altitude connectivity efforts.

In a statement, Softbank explained its own assets and those under subsidiary HAPSMobile mean it holds around 500 issued and pending patents related to the provision of connectivity from high altitude platform stations (HAPS).

IP held by the Japanese conglomerate and its subsidiary covers network technologies, service operations and aircraft.

SoftBank plans to use the Loon IP to accelerate plans for commercial HAPS services.

HAPSMobile is set to use unmanned solar-powered aircraft in the stratosphere rather than balloons to deliver LTE and 5G connectivity.

SoftBank plans to offer HAPSMobile within a wider portfolio of non-terrestrial network services.

Alongside aiding its own efforts, SoftBank noted the Loon move would help “promote standardisation” across the industry through its work as a founder of the HAPS Alliance.

While Alphabet abandoned its much-hyped Loon project in January, blaming financial difficulties, SoftBank has pushed on with its various projects focused on providing alternative mobile connectivity systems.

Financial terms for the transfer of the patents were not disclosed.



Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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