oneweb: Bharti-backed OneWeb launches 36 more satellites, deploys 60% of targeted LEO satellite fleet

OneWeb, a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications operator co-owned by the Bharti group and the UK government, launched another batch of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The latest launch, and the 9th since December 2020, takes OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 394 satellites, representing 60% of OneWeb’s planned 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

“With this launch, OneWeb will have 60% of its global satellite fleet in space…it is an extraordinary achievement and a significant step towards our promise to deliver digital transformation on a global scale through our robust, secure and resilient satellite broadband network,” Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal, who is also OneWeb’s executive chairman said in a media statement.

OneWeb’s business is fully funded, having raised $2.7 billion since November 2020, with no debt issuance.

Bharti Group-backed OneWeb is readying to take on Elon Musk’s Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper venture in the relatively nascent fast broadband-from-space segment. It will launch satellite broadband services in India by May 2022.

OneWeb continues to see growing demand for its services. In the past month, OneWeb has inked distribution partner agreements with Airbus to provide LEO services for military and governmental use in Europe as well as announcing a new Canadian-headquartered distribution partner, Network Innovations and Vocus to expand enterprise connectivity in Australia. OneWeb also acquired TrustComm in 2021, now OneWeb Technologies, which is focused on meeting the needs of government customers.

OneWeb plans to launch global satellite broadband services by the end-2022.

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Earlier this year, Mittal had said OneWeb would sign up at least one telco in each of the 135-odd markets across the world in the run-up to its targeted global satellite broadband coverage.

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