Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications specialist OneWeb has announced a major investment by South Korean global technology and manufacturing giant Hanwha.
As part of a new funding round, Hanwha made a $330m equity investment and pledged to provide OneWeb with “further defence capabilities and the latest antenna technologies”.
The UK-based satellite operator has plans to encircle the globe with close to 650 satellites in low orbit, providing internet coverage to “even the most remote corners of the planet”. After the latest investment, OneWeb claims its first generation fleet is “fully funded to deliver global coverage by 2022”. The company has so far launched 254 satellites into orbit, with another launch of 34 satellites planned this August from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.
Neil Masterson, chief executive at OneWeb, said: “We are all delighted that [Hanwha] 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.”
The funding from Hanwha, which gives the South Korean company an 8.8% stake in OneWeb, follows previous major investments by French company Eutelsat and the UK government, which both acquired 24% stakes for more than $500m each.
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