Bharti Enterprises-led low earth orbit (Leo) satellite communications company, OneWeb has received a $300 million equity investment from South Korean firm Hanwha Systems. With this funding, OneWeb’s total equity investment since November 2020 comes to $2.7 billion with no debt issuance. The South Korean firm will get an 8.8% share in OneWeb in lieu of the investment.
The London-headquartered company plans to launch a total of 648 Leo satellites by June 2022 to construct a global satellite constellation that will provide enhanced broadband and other services to countries around the world. Currently, 254 Leo satellites are operational, with another launch planned this August from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
After successful launches, OneWeb will be able to offer services 50 degree north of latitude in Scandinavian countries, Alaska and parts of Europe.
The investment from Hanwha Systems is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals. Hanwha brings further defence capabilities and the latest antenna technologies to OneWeb, alongside relationships to new government customers and expanded geographical reach.
“We welcome Hanwha to OneWeb. These are exciting and fast-paced times in the space sector. With Hanwha alongside, we will be able to access the highest quality of technological thinking and development. They are a powerful partner in our global mission to connect the world,” Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said.
Youn Chul KIM President, chief executive officer and director at Hanwha Systems said, “We are pleased to join hands with OneWeb, which has strength in the Leo communication area, the core of space business. To OneWeb ‘s vision of connecting all the people across the globe, Hanwha System’s satellite and antenna technology will bring more advantages.”
Satellite communications are extremely useful for providing broadband services in remote, hilly, and inaccessible regions. It is also the only medium through which communication can be established in disaster zones when normal communication gets affected. In satellite communications, services are provided through Leo satellites, through which a box is suspended in remote and hilly regions which creates WiFi spots through which broadband services are provided.