OneWeb has secured additional funding from SoftBank Group Corp. and Hughes Network Systems.
According to OneWeb its total capital raised to date, approximately US$1.4 billion, positions it “to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totalling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022.”
In December 2020, OneWeb launched 36 new satellites, built at its Airbus Joint Venture assembly plant in Florida, US, bringing the total fleet to 110 satellites, all fully-functioning and benefitting from International Telecommunication Union spectrum priority.
Masayoshi Son, Representative Director, Corporate Officer, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank, said, “We are excited to support OneWeb as it increases capacity and accelerates towards commercialisation. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Bharti, the UK Government and Hughes to help OneWeb deliver on its mission to transform internet access around the world.”
Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, added: “OneWeb’s mission is to connect everyone, everywhere. We have made rapid progress to re-start the business since emerging from Chapter 11 in November. We welcome the investments by SoftBank and Hughes as further proof of progress towards delivering our goal.”
In connection with the investment, SoftBank will gain a seat on the OneWeb Board of Directors. The company previously led an investment round in March 2019, when $1.25 billion of new capital was raised. Hughes is an investor through its parent company EchoStar, and also an ecosystem partner, developing essential ground network technology for the OneWeb system.
This new investment follows the announcement that OneWeb was drastically reducing its constellation size from the 48,000 proposed last year, to just 7,000.
OneWeb has reduced its request for US market access from 47,884 to 6,372 satellites (exclusive of those already licensed).