Hughes has agreed in principle to invest $50 million in the consortium. Additionally, Hughes will continue as a trusted technology and distribution partner to OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite operator which had launched 74 satellites before filing for Chapter 11 protection in March.
Consummation of the consortium is contingent upon execution and effectiveness of definitive agreements. Confirmation of OneWeb’s reorganization is contingent on certain conditions established by the Bankruptcy Court.
Through its Hughes Europe division, which is headquartered outside of London, and sister company EchoStar Mobile Limited, Hughes has worked closely with the U.K. Government. Furthermore, Hughes Communications India Ltd, (HCIL), a majority-owned subsidiary of Hughes, and Bharti Airtel Limited (“Airtel”), a leading Indian telecom provider affiliated with Bharti, are in the process of combining their satellite broadband operations in India.
The merger, which was announced in 2019, is pending regulatory approvals and is expected to bring greater scale, operational efficiencies and market reach to deliver solutions for enterprise and government networks.
“We are pleased to be part of this winning team, along with the British Government and Bharti,” said Pradman Kaul, President, Hughes. “Our continuing and strengthened involvement with OneWeb extends naturally from our position as a leading geostationary satellite operator and ground network innovator, along with a meaningful partnership with Bharti and longstanding relationship with the U.K. through our business operations in both countries. This global consortium brings the right players together to fulfill the promise of the OneWeb constellation in deploying low-latency services for communities, enterprises, governments, airplanes and ships – complementing geostationary connectivity and ushering in the new era of multi-transport services that will serve growing bandwidth demand around the world. We look forward to doing our part in developing this groundbreaking technology and bringing those services to market.”
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, added, “We are delighted to welcome Hughes to the consortium. The investment by Hughes underlines OneWeb’s exciting commercial prospects, reflected in the ongoing discussions with some of the world’s leading strategic and financial investors.”
Betty Bonnardel-Azzarelli, Founder and Director of Access.Space Alliance, said, “Access Space Alliance (www.access.space) welcomes the added commitment by Hughes to the UK government’s investment in OneWeb. It demonstrates that the satellite industry is a global market, and international alliances are a key to unlock it. It also signifies the synergy and importance of the ground segment for large global constellations, supported by a strong player such as Hughes. OneWeb has and will continue to act as a catalyst for businesses entering the small satellite market. By tapping into OneWeb’s wealth of knowledge and technological advancement as well as entering partnerships the UK government will able to create further jobs in the NewSpace market and further stimulate innovation.”