28 Apr Eutelsat enters LEO space through investment in OneWeb
Paris, 27 April 2021 – Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) has entered into an agreement with OneWeb for the subscription of a c.24% equity stake, becoming a leading shareholder of the company alongside the UK Government and Bharti Global. Eutelsat will invest $550 million in OneWeb, with closing expected in H2 2021 subject to regulatory authorisations.
With much of its global network already deployed, the OneWeb constellation, which enjoys valuable ITU-backed priority spectrum rights, will operate 648 satellites in low orbit (LEO) offering low latency. This first generation of satellites will offer significant regional coverage by the end of 2021, reaching global coverage the following year. OneWeb will be the first complete non-geostationary constellation with truly global coverage, significantly ahead of competing projects. It will deliver 1.1 Tbps of capacity addressing the government, fixed data and mobility markets. Plans include a second-generation constellation that will provide significant enhancements in terms of capacity, flexibility and economics. It anticipates annual revenues of circa $1 billion within three to five years following the full deployment of the constellation, with a partnership approach and profitable wholesale business model. Eutelsat’s investment leaves OneWeb almost fully funded and the company is well advanced in terms of securing its remaining funding needs this year.
Eutelsat’s investment will come with similar governance rights to the UK Government and Bharti, including board representation, where its position and expertise as one of the world’s leading satellite operators will help to drive the success of the new constellation. In a context where LEO features will enable the extension of the addressable market for satellite operators well beyond their current reach, the complementarity of Eutelsat’s and OneWeb’s resources and assets is expected to optimize both companies’ commercial potential thanks to Eutelsat’s strong commercial and institutional relationships, recognized technical expertise and global geostationary fleet, and OneWeb’s ability to address the multiple applications requiring low latency and ubiquity.