UK-based Network Access Associates (NAA), a OneWeb The group company is set to acquire up to 74% stake in OneWeb India Communications as the latter prepares to manage gateways and enter the bandwidth leasing industry before launching broadband services through fast satellite to India next year.

Currently, OneWeb India is 100% owned by Nettle Infrastructure Investments, a unit of Bharti Airtel.

OneWeb is the low Earth orbit (LEO) broadband satellite communications company. A consortium of the UK government (through UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global, has invested $ 1 billion in new equity to deliver connectivity services broadband, via a constellation of 650 LEO satellites.

“Now, Network Access Associates, a wholly owned branch of OneWeb UK, backed by Bharti Global, will acquire a significant controlling stake in Nettle Infra’s stake in OneWeb India and seek the required statutory approvals,” ET told on condition anonymity.

Bharti Airtel is also a Bharti group company. Bharti Global is the overseas subsidiary of Bharti Enterprises, the holding company of Bharti Airtel, India’s second largest telecommunications operator.

UK-based OneWeb stakeholders – Bharti Global, the UK government, SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems – are all represented in the NAA. Eutelsat will also be represented after the close of the buyout of the French geostationary satellite operator’s 24% stake in OneWeb-UK, another senior industry executive close to the matter said.

OneWeb Group did not respond to questions from ET until press time.

OneWeb India Communications, which recently applied for a Global Mobile Personal Communications Satellite (GMPCS) license from the Ministry of Telecommunications (DoT), is likely to lease a significant portion of its satellite bandwidth capacity to provide backhaul connectivity services. cellular to Bharti Airtel and other telecom operators facing challenges to provide uninterrupted 4G coverage in rural and remote areas of India, amid a dearth of mobile towers, terrestrial microwave links and wireless networks. fiber.

OneWeb India can also provide satellite connectivity to private Internet of Things networks in India by leveraging its upcoming earth station gateways in the country. The telecommunications regulator is ready to support expanding the scope of GMPCS licenses to allow such connectivity to IoT devices in a service area.

Globally, OneWeb is building a global constellation of approximately 650 low Earth orbit satellites that will be operated to provide fast internet services from space around the world. It is preparing to provide high-speed, low-latency high-speed satellite broadband services to rural and remote areas around the world, including India, with the aim of supporting Elon Musk’s SpaceX and the Kuiper Project. by Jeff Bezos linked to Amazon. OneWeb is expected to deploy satellite internet services in India by June 2022.

A slice of OneWeb’s bandwidth capacity can also be set aside to allow Indo Teleports – another unit of Bharti Airtel – to offer in-flight connectivity and broadband services on domestic and foreign airlines using satellite systems, as well as voice calls and Internet connectivity on ships. This is possible because Indo Teleports has an air and maritime connectivity license using satellite systems.

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