Bharti Group-backed low earth satellite (LEO) firm Oneweb and Hughes Network Systems have signed a strategic six-year pact to provide satellite broadband services in the country.
The services will be provided by Hughes Communications India Private Ltd (HCIPL), which is a joint venture between Hughes and Bharti Airtel. The deal follows the memorandum of understanding signed by the companies in September 2021.
Partho Banerjee, president and managing director, HCIPL, said, “This announcement marks a turning point for Digital India. Enterprise and government customers, including telecom service providers, banks, factories, schools, defence organisations, domestic airlines and offshore vessel operators are eagerly anticipating the arrival of new high performing satcom services.”
OneWeb’s most recent satellite launch on December 27, 2021 brought its total in-orbit satellites to 394, over 60% of the planned 648 LEO satellite fleet.
It plans to commence global service by the end of 2022.
Hughes, through its parent company EchoStar, is a longstanding and supportive OneWeb shareholder. It is also an ecosystem partner to OneWeb, developing gateway electronics — including for those in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu — and the core module that will power every user terminal for the system.
Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb, said, “OneWeb’s constellation will cover the length and breadth of India, from Ladakh to Kanyakumari and from Gujarat to the Northeast and bring secure solutions to enterprises, governments, telcos, airline companies and maritime customers. OneWeb will invest in setting up enabling infrastructure such as Gateways and PoPs in India to light up the services.”