OneWeb, a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband provider, today announced that Bharti Global, an existing shareholder of OneWeb, is investing an additional $500m into the company, bringing OneWeb’s total equity funding to $2.4bn. Specifically, Bharti Global is exercising its call option under its current OneWeb shareholders’ agreement for this follow-on investment. Finally, the capital infusion is expected to close in the second-half of 2021.

Capital Structure – OneWeb and Bharti Global

As a result of Bharti Global’s $500m follow-on equity investment, OneWeb’s satellite broadband initiative will be fully-funded for its first-generation fleet, of which 40% will be in space in the coming days (see below).

Upon closing of Bharti Global’s $500m follow-on equity investment and Eutelsat’s pending $550m investment, OneWeb’s key shareholders will be:

  • Bharti Global: 38.6% ownership interest in OneWeb
  • UK Government: 19.3% ownership interest in OneWeb
  • Eutelsat: 19.3% ownership interest in OneWeb
  • SoftBank: 19.3% ownership interest in OneWeb

Notably, OneWeb’s final ownership structure may change should another shareholder (other than Bharti Global) exercise their call option rights.

Since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States, OneWeb will have secured $2.4bn of new equity, with no issued debt. Indeed, OneWeb’s current shareholders, like Bharti Global, are benefitting from the $3.4bn of pre-Chapter 11 investment from OneWeb’s original shareholders.

Satellite Launch Plan – OneWeb Fueled by Bharti Global

Currently, OneWeb is preparing for its 8th launch on July 1, 2021, which will complete 40% of its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. Following this deployment, OneWeb will deliver coverage from the Arctic region down to 50 degrees latitude. Subsequently, OneWeb plans to complete ten more satellite launches in order to deliver global coverage through its network.

Overall, OneWeb is deploying a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites with a global network of gateways (ground stations). Additionally, the company is providing a range of user terminals to deliver its affordable, fast, high-bandwidth, and low-latency broadband service. Indeed, all of OneWeb’s digital infrastructure requires significant equity funding from investors like Bharti Global.

Customers

OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband service will benefit:

  • Homes and businesses in countries globally, particularly those with universal service obligations (USOs)
  • Telecommunications operators for backhaul purposes
  • Enterprise and governments for their remote installations

Distribution Partners

To deploy its network for these customers, OneWeb has begun signing distribution partners across multiple industries and territories above the 50th Parallel. Specifically, these distribution partners are communications companies including AST Group, PDI, and ACS.

Rural Connectivity Partnership – OneWeb and BT Group

OneWeb and BT Group, a major UK telecommunications provider, this week signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore rural connectivity solutions in the UK and worldwide. Specifically, OneWeb and BT Group will seek new ways to bring faster and more reliable connectivity to the world’s most difficult to reach homes and businesses.

OneWeb’s work with BT Group will focus on how satellite technology can support improved capacity, wireless resilience, backhaul, and coverage, including Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), in challenging geographic locations.

Geographic Focus

In the UK, OneWeb and BT Group will deliver OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband to homes and businesses. While internationally, OneWeb and BT Group intend to develop new services for BT’s global customers.

Project Gigabit – The UK Government’s Broadband Program

By partnering on the deployment of satellite broadband, OneWeb and BT Group are participating in the UK’s £5.0bn Project Gigabit. Indeed, OneWeb and BT, in-partnership with shareholders like Bharti Global, will help deliver on the UK Government’s target to provide broadband speeds of 1 gigabit per second.

Jonathan Kim covers Fiber for Dgtl Infra, including Zayo Group, Cogent Communications (NASDAQ: CCOI), Uniti Group (NASDAQ: UNIT), Lumen Technologies (NYSE: LUMN), Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FYBR), Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ: CNSL), and many more. Within Fiber, Jonathan focuses on the sub-sectors of wholesale / dark fiber, enterprise fiber, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP), and subsea cables.

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