South Korean ICT firm Hanwha Systems has invested $300 million into OneWeb.
Hanwha Systems is part of the South Korean Hanwha Group conglomerate. Its investment in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications startup gives Hanwha an 8.8 percent share in the company. The investment is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.
“We are pleased to join hands with OneWeb, which has strength in the LEO communication area, the core of space business. To OneWeb ‘s vision of connecting all the people across the globe, Hanwha System’s satellite and antenna technology will bring more advantages,” said Youn Chul KIM President, chief executive officer and director at Hanwha Systems.
OneWeb said Hanwha brings further defense capabilities and ‘the latest antenna technologies’ to OneWeb, alongside relationships to new government customers and expanded geographical reach.
“Hanwha brings advanced defense and antenna technology development to the OneWeb line-up,” added OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson. “We are all delighted that they have chosen to join us on this journey of innovation, shaping a global service to connect the most remote locations and to provide a critical digital pathway from space to our interconnected world.”
OneWeb has launched 254 satellites into orbit, with its first generation fleet due to reach 648 satellites. The company will be ready to offer connectivity services from 50th parallel and above by the end of 2021.
OneWeb has raised $2.4 billion since it exited bankruptcy in November 2020. The company’s investors include Bharti Enterprises – which recently doubled its stake in the company – as well as the UK Government, Eutelsat, Hughes, and SoftBank.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said: “We welcome Hanwha to OneWeb. These are exciting and fast-paced times in the space sector. With Hanwha alongside, we will be able to access the highest quality of technological thinking and development. They are a powerful partner in our global mission to connect the world.”
This year OneWeb has announced partnerships with BT, SoftBank, Rock Networks, Alaska Communications & Pacific Dataport, and Hughes to provide satellite-based broadband connectivity. The company also acquired managed satcoms provider TrustComm and announced plans to set up a new government-focused subsidiary.
Last year Hanwha Systems invested $30 million in US firm Kymeta to further development of LEO antenna solutions.