OneWeb Announces $500 Million of A-Round Funding With Group of Leading International Companies

Jun 25, 2015, 07:04 ET from OneWeb

LONDON, June 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

Company reveals details of its new global satellite network and launch strategy, enabling combined satellite and cellular broadband services    

OneWeb, which is building a new global communications system to create affordable broadband services for all, today announces it has raised $500 million of funding from a group of leading international companies.

OneWeb has attracted investment from Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, (Hughes), a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp., Intelsat, Qualcomm Incorporated, The Coca-Cola Company, the Virgin Group, and Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company, owned by Ricardo B. Salinas.

This funding allows OneWeb to further develop key technologies to enable affordable broadband for rural and underdeveloped locations. The OneWeb User Terminals are optionally solar powered, and with their embedded LTE, 3G, 2G and Wifi access capabilities will extend the mobile operator's reach. The network will also provide unprecedented speeds and low latency access to ships, planes, trains and oil platforms while providing seamless interoperability with Intelsat's fleet of Ku band satellites.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises and Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, will be joining Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, Dr. Paul Jacobs, Executive Chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated, and Greg Wyler, founder of OneWeb, on the Board of Directors. Each of the other founding shareholders, who will also be Board observers, will continue to advise the company and support the programme directly through provision of technical and manufacturing expertise, launch capabilities, and enabling access to potential customers.

Following the announcement on June 15 of its joint venture with Airbus Group (pending regulatory approvals) to design and manufacture its first 900 microsatellites, OneWeb today also announces the largest commercial rocket acquisition ever of more than 65 rockets including 21 Soyuz launch orders from Arianespace and 39 launches from Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne.

"The dream of fully bridging the digital divide is on track to be a reality in 2019," said Greg Wyler, founder of OneWeb. "Together with our committed and visionary founding shareholders we have the key elements in place: regulatory, technology, launches, satellites, as well as commercial operators in over 50 countries and territories. We are committed to solving one of the world's biggest problems - enabling affordable broadband Internet access for everyone. We are excited about the next phase, which will involve working with countries, telecom operators and aid organizations to help them realize their goals of open and ubiquitous access."

"We're very excited to be part of OneWeb's endeavor to provide global Internet access for everybody, everywhere. Whether at some remote place on earth or flying high on an Airbus aircraft, you'll be connected: a grand proposition for mankind and a sound business opportunity for us! We are committed to giving our full industrial and space expertise to this mission," said Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group.

"Access to affordable high-speed Internet is a powerful tool for economic development and empowerment of populations, particularly, in emerging economies. OneWeb is an innovative platform backed by leading global corporations and will complement the efforts of Governments and telecom operators across the globe to take Internet to the masses. Having witnessed the deep positive impact of enabling communications across our global operations, Bharti is delighted to be a part of this initiative that will accelerate the journey towards building a digitally inclusive world," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises. Bharti Airtel, a group company of Bharti Enterprises with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, will be able to leverage the investment by becoming a distributor of these services across its operations.

"OneWeb is a game-changing next generation satellite system," said Pradman Kaul, President of Hughes. "We have been looking at every detail and are excited to participate both in the design, development and production of the ground system. In addition, we will employ the OneWeb network to deliver services to our global base of customers and distribution partners."

"Intelsat provides more satellite broadband connectivity to more users than any other company. From villages and governments, to enterprises and communications providers, Intelsat has witnessed firsthand the economic growth and value creation that result from access to reliable communications," said Stephen Spengler, CEO of Intelsat S.A. "Our role in the commercial space sector is to push for innovations that can drive increased performance, economics and simple access for our users. Intelsat has the world's largest fleet of Ku Band geostationary satellites and our interoperability will enable pole-to-pole and urban canyon coverage with new services that further our goal of a connected world."

"Qualcomm has built the foundational technologies which spread mobile broadband systems worldwide. But there still remain un-served and underserved areas. Our investment in and work on OneWeb will extend broadband connectivity to everyone and everything, everywhere around the world," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Executive Chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated.

"This project is exciting because it combines commerce with purpose," said Bea Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. "We believe it will help spur local economic development where people are in the greatest need, while also helping our business by improving real-time access to some of the world's most remote areas where we are already active in helping provide opportunities for entrepreneurs."

"We would like nothing better than to bring true affordable broadband coverage to 100% of Mexico, but running cables and placing towers for that level of coverage has just not been possible. We are backing OneWeb, as we believe it has all the pieces in place to create that service in the future," said Ricardo Salinas, Chairman of Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company.

"Our vision is to make the Internet affordable for everyone, connecting remote areas to rest of the world and helping to raise living standards and prosperity in some of the poorest regions today," said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. "We believe that OneWeb, together with Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne satellite launch system, has the capability to make this a reality."

Barclays acted as exclusive placement agent to OneWeb.

Airbus Group is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2014, the Group - comprising comprising commercial aircraft, defence and space and helicopters - generated revenues of € 60.7 billion and employed a workforce of around 138,600.

Bharti Enterprises is one of India's leading business groups with interests in telecom, agri business, financial services, retail and manufacturing. Bharti has been a pioneering force in the Indian telecom sector with many firsts and innovations to its credit. Bharti Airtel, the group's flagship company, is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. The Company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. Other business ventures of the group include Bharti Softbank - a JV between Bharti Enterprises and Softbank Corp - for mobile internet. Beetel Teletech, a JV between Bharti and Brightstar is India's leading manufacturer and distributor of telecom, IT and allied products. The group has a JV -FieldFresh Foods - with Del Monte Pacific Ltd, to offer fresh and processed fruits and vegetables in the domestic as well as international markets. Bharti has JVs with AXA, world leader in financial protection and wealth management, for Life Insurance and General Insurance. The group has presence in the retail sector through Bharti Retail that operates stores in multiple formats under the 'easyday' brand.

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes) is the global leader in satellite broadband for home and office, delivering innovative solutions and managed services for enterprises and governments worldwide. HughesNet® is the #1 high-speed satellite Internet service in the marketplace, with over 1 million subscribers in North America. Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., Hughes operates service businesses in the U.S., Europe, India and Brazil, with system sales and support in more than 100 countries. Hughes is a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), a premier global provider of satellite operations and digital TV solutions. For additional information please visit http://www.hughes.com and http://www.echostar.com .

Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I) is the world's leading provider of satellite services, delivering high performance connectivity solutions for media, fixed and mobile broadband infrastructure, enterprise and government and military applications. Intelsat's satellite, teleport and fiber infrastructure is unmatched in the industry, setting the standard for transmissions of video and broadband services. From the globalization of content and the proliferation of HD, to the expansion of cellular networks and mobile broadband access, with Intelsat, envision your future network, connect using our leading satellite technology and transform your opportunities. Envision…Connect…Transform…with Intelsat. For more information, visit http://www.intelsat.com

OneWeb's mission is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone and is building a communications network with a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide connectivity to billions of people around the world. With more than 10 terabits per second of new capacity, it will transparently extend the networks of mobile operators and ISP's to serve new coverage areas, bringing voice and data access to consumers, businesses, schools, healthcare institutions and other end users.

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm's licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm's engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other.

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at 
http://www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at http://www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.

Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company.  Grupo Salinas is a group of dynamic, fast-growing, and technologically advanced companies focused on creating shareholder value, and improving society through excellence.  Founded by Mexican entrepreneur Ricardo B. Salinas, Grupo Salinas companies include Grupo Elektra --Latin America's leading financial services company and specialty retailer and the largest non-bank provider of cash advance services in the United States, with over 6,000 points of sale in Mexico, the US, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama and Peru-- and Azteca --one of the two largest producers of Spanish-language television programming in the world, operating two national television networks in Mexico, Azteca 13 and Azteca 7, through more than 300 owned and operated stations across the country.  Azteca affiliates include Azteca US, a broadcast television network focused on the rapidly growing U.S. Hispanic market-- Other Grupo Salinas companies are Azteca Comunicaciones Colombia and Azteca Comunicaciones Peru, which connect rural areas with world class fiber optic networks and Totalplay, Mexico´s most innovative triple play services.

Virgin Group is a leading international investment group and one of the world's most recognized and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including mobile telephony, travel and transportation, financial services, leisure and entertainment, health and wellness, and space tourism.

Notes to Editors:
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SOURCE OneWeb