Eutelsat OneWeb and Telstra began connecting low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite mobile backhaul to remote base stations to expand the reach and quality of the Australian operator’s network.

The satellite company stated more than 300 remote sites would be connected to its LEO constellation over the next 18 months.

Eutelsat OneWeb indicated its birds would replace existing satellite backhaul arrangements currently used at the sites. The shift will enable Telstra “to expand mobile coverage as it supports new site deployments”.

The company explained the rollout is proceeding after tests of voice calls using the LEO birds, “the first time a satellite backhaul call has been conducted on a commercial mobile network with a guaranteed quality level” in Australia.

Telstra executive for network and technology Iskra Nikolova expects the collaboration to “improve reliability in areas where terrestrial backhaul is susceptible to natural disasters”.

Eutelsat OneWeb struck a deal in 2023 to provide Telstra with backhaul capacity of up to 25Gb/s to enable real-time applications including voice and video calling.

The satellite company stated Australia is one of several markets where its service is fully operational as it “completes the rollout of its ground segment to enable” global coverage.

Last month, Eutelsat OneWeb’s parent company indicated it would not meet a timeline of providing global coverage early this year due to delays in terrestrial infrastructure.