OneWeb has raised $500 million of funding from Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp., Intelsat, Qualcomm Incorporated, The Coca-Cola Company, the Virgin Group, and Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company, owned by Ricardo B. Salinas.
The OneWeb user terminals are optionally solar powered, and support Long Term Evolution 4G, 3G, 2G and Wi-Fi access, suggesting the business model for OneWeb’s new fleet of low earth orbit satellites, namely trunking to mobile operator cell towers, with end user access using either Wi-Fi or mobile network protocols.
The network will also provide service to ships, planes, trains and oil platforms and interoperability with Intelsat’s fleet of Ku-band satellites.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises and Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group will be joining Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, Dr. Paul Jacobs, Executive Chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated, and Greg Wyler, founder of OneWeb, on the Board of Directors.
Each of the other founding shareholders also be board observers, will continue to advise the company and support OneWeb by providing technical and manufacturing expertise, launch capabilities, and enabling access to potential customers.
OneWeb also said it has placed an order for more than 65 rockets including 21 Soyuz launch orders from Arianespace and 39 launches from Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne.
The funding and equipment deals to follow are an important milestone towards actual launch of the constellation.