Bharti-led Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb plans to make its global service available in 2022.
“OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022,” said a company statement.
During a virtual interaction with the media on Thursday, OneWeb’s Executive Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal said that the company is 10 months away from its global coverage.
He also said that OneWeb may raise more funds going ahead.
The statement comes just days after Bharti announced to invest an additional $500 million into OneWeb. Post the investment, the total funding raised by OneWeb would amount to $2.4 billion.
Mittal added the company would prepare for commercial launch in the next six months.
On Thursday, the satellite communications company announced the successful lift-off of another 36 satellites to mark the completion of its ‘Five to 50’ mission.
With this major milestone, the company is on the way to deliver connectivity across the UK, Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, and the Arctic Region, said the company statement.
The completion of the latest launch will take OneWeb’s in-orbit constellation to 254 satellites, or 40 per cent of OneWeb’s planned fleet of 648 LEO satellites that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.
“This fifth launch amid the unprecedented global pandemic is truly remarkable and I congratulate the management team and fellow shareholders on the success,” Mittal said.
“Bharti’s doubling of its investment earlier this week is testament to the commitment to OneWeb’s mission. We now look forward to the next chapter in OneWeb’s story, preparing the company for commercial service in the less than six months to deliver our global connectivity solutions to communities around the world,” he added.
OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said: “This is a truly historic moment for OneWeb, the culmination of months of positive momentum in our ‘Five to 50’ programme, increased investment from our global partners and the rapid onboarding of new customers.”
During his interaction with the media, Mittal also said that OneWeb’s strategy is not to compete with or replace telecom operators, rather it would collaborate with them to provide connectivity in far-flung unconnected areas.
He further said that not only Bharti Airtel, but other players like Jio and Vodafone Idea would also be able to avail its services.