Satellite broadband provider OneWeb held its largest fundraising round to date and secured $1.25 billion in new capital following the successful launch of its first wave of satellites into space. Investors included SoftBank Group, Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm Technologies and the Government of Rwanda.
Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, said the investment round “makes OneWeb’s service inevitable,” and he added that the successful investment round “is a vote of confidence from our core investor base in our business model and the OneWeb value proposition.”
OneWeb has begun building its low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband service in space. The company plans to offer high speed, low latency broadband to markets across the globe. The new capital will be used to ensure it can begin offering commercial services by 2021.
In February 2019, OneWeb launched the first six satellites of a planned initial 650-satellite constellation for providing global Internet. The satellites are being built through a joint venture with satellite manufacturer Airbus. OneWeb said the two companies are nearing completion of a satellite manufacturing facility and will ramp up production during the spring. OneWeb will begin an aggressive launch schedule, with monthly launches of 30 satellites at a time, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The constellation will use Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) frequency bands to provide global internet connectivity to rural communities and schools, businesses and industry verticals in aviation, maritime and backhaul.
“With the recent successful launch of our first six satellites, near-completion of our innovative satellite manufacturing facility with our partner Airbus, progress towards fully securing our ITU priority spectrum position, and the signing of our first customer contracts, OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation,” Steckel said.