Telstra and OneWeb worked out a commercial agreement to deliver mobile backhaul to remote areas using the satellite operator’s low Earth orbit (LEO) network, following tests across Australia.

The companies will move hundreds of existing remote mobile base stations currently using satellite backhaul to OneWeb’s LEO network later this year. Backhaul capacity of up to 25Gb/s will be delivered to sites covered by the agreement.

OneWeb VP for APAC David Thorn stated the deployment is one of the “largest single rollouts of LEO satellite capacity for mobile backhaul worldwide”.

“Telstra will also be pivotal in collaborating with us on future generations of OneWeb product development.”

OneWeb said Telstra also will use its LEO services for future sites where satellite backhaul is the preferred or only viable option.

Nikos Katinakis, Telstra group executive for global networks and technology, noted the capability will help it expand its regional coverage, giving more “options for consumer, small business and enterprise customers in hard-to-reach places across rural and regional Australia”.

“Our initial focus is using the service as a backhaul medium to connect remote mobile base stations. In time, it also offers us capability to deliver voice and fixed broadband services to regional Australia.”

Telstra plans to extend the testing for additional use cases including backhaul resilience, such as a back-up to fixed backhaul for selected critical sites, Katinakis stated.

OneWeb said it has more than 630 satellites in orbit, with global coverage on track for the end of the year.

Telstra signed a ten-year agreement with OneWeb in early 2022 to build and maintain three teleports in Australia to deliver ground support.

Japan-based SoftBank Corp yesterday (19 June) said it started preparations to deliver satellite-based communication service using OneWeb’s network.