OneWeb and Hughes Agree to Bring LEO Satcom to India

On Thursday, OneWeb and Hughes announced an agreement to provide LEO connectivity across India. The companies had signed an MoU back in September 2021.

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OneWeb, Hughes pen deal for LEO satcom services in India

On Thursday, OneWeb and Hughes announced a Distributor Partner agreement to provide LEO connectivity across India. Notably, the companies had signed an MoU back in September 2021.


OneWeb, Hughes Announce LEO Deal

Under the arrangement, HCIPL and OneWeb will deliver satcom services to both enterprises and government agencies alike. However, the companies will focus on delivering connectivity to regions outside fiber connectivity. Incidentally, the satcom company had conducted a launch on 27th December 2021. The latest launch took the total satellites in orbit to 394, or over 60% of the planned constellation. Competing with Elon Musk's Starlink, the company has targeted a global rollout this year.

On the occasion, Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb, said, "OneWeb is delighted to partner with Hughes to offer high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband solutions and contribute to the Digital India vision". Masterson added that the satcom company's constellation will provide coverage across all parts of India. OneWeb will deliver connectivity solutions to "enterprises, governments, telcos, airline companies, and maritime customers", he added. Furthermore, the company will also invest in satcom ground infrastructure such as Gateways and PoPs in India.


Partho Banerjee, President, and MD, HCIPL, called the announcement a "turning point" for Digital India. Banerjee added that multiple industries have been anticipating satcom services eagerly, and OneWeb aims to serve that market. "We look forward to bringing them high-speed, low-latency services from HCIPL using OneWeb capacity—and catapulting India to the cutting edge of connectivity", Banerjee said.

Bharti's Satcom Game

Incidentally, the agreement expands upon a long-standing relationship between the companies. The parent company of Hughes, EchoStar, also has a stake in OneWeb. Hughes also has been developing gateway electronics for the satcom company. What's more, both the satcom companies have been working on a USAF Research Lab project to integrate and demonstrate managed LEO SATCOM using in the Arctic region.


Earlier in January, Hughes Communications India Pvt Ltd and Bharti Airtel have formed a JV to deliver satellite broadband in India. The companies will still operate under HCIPL and will combine VSAT businesses of both Hughes and Airtel. In a joint statement, the companies said that they will deliver enterprise networking solutions using satellite broadband for primary transport, backup, and hybrid implementation. Interestingly, the companies had announced the agreement back in May 2019, and finally, the JV has received all the statutory approvals. These approvals also include approvals from NCLT and DoT.

Given that OneWeb already is a Bharti venture, this makes it essentially an entirely Bharti-only agreement. The telco has been investing heavily in the satcom business; with global coverage coming soon, Airtel will surely have high hopes for its satcom gamble.

hughes oneweb digital-india