Hanwha backs OneWeb with antennas & $330m funding
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
5 flags in front of rocket launching OneWeb has funding from the UK government, Bharti Group (majority shareholder), Japan's SoftBank, France's Eutelsat and now South Korea's Hanwha (credit: OneWeb)

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.

This is a second major investment in the UK technology sector for Hanwha after the company last year acquired the business and assets of satellite communication antenna developer Phasor Solutions, a specialist in phased-array, flat-panel electronically-steered antennas (ESAs). Since the acquisition, the company has also launched the Hanwha Phasor ASIC Centre of Excellence to develop satellite communication antenna technology.

Youn Chul Kim, president and CEO at Hanwha Systems, said: “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.”

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