OneWeb emerged in 2014 from WorldVu. The company plans a $3.5bn LEO constellation of 700 satellites providing broadband connectivity worldwide including support for LTE, 3G and WiFi terminals. It plans to launch its initial 10 satellites in early 2018 and the launch of broadband access in 2019. Projected applications include aeronautical connectivity, vehicle-based cell networks for first responders, direct service to homes and schools, and rural coverage for mobile operators. Its business model is based on mass production of microsatellites, patent-pending low-cost terminals and “progressive pitch” technology that claims to avoid interference with GEO satellites. It has raised substantial sums from the Virgin Group, Qualcomm, Intelsat, Coca-Cola, and most recently $1.2bn from a group led by SoftBank of Japan. It has contracted with Airbus to manufacture the spacecraft and Arianespace and Virgin Galactic for launch, and has opened a factory in Florida to manufacture the spacecraft.
OneWeb was named one of the 2017 Rising Five in the Communications Sector.
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