Glavkosmos Soyuz launch December 27 (Source: Glavkosmos)

Hanwha Systems invests $300M in OneWeb

Last week, South Korean technology conglomerate Hanwha placed a $300 million equity investment into the OneWeb low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, providing OneWeb with enough funding to complete its constellation.

“Hanwha brings advanced defence and antenna technology development to the OneWeb line-up,” Neil Masterson, Chief Executive at OneWeb said. “We are all delighted that they have chosen to join us on this journey of innovation, shaping a global service to connect the most remote locations and to provide a critical digital pathway from space to our interconnected world.”

Hanwha’s investment brings OneWeb’s total equity investment to $2.7 billion.  The company will receive an 8.8 percent share in the company in exchange for its $300 contribution.  Hanwha is a defense and antenna manufacturer, making its investment in OneWeb similar to Hughes’ contributions in the past with the expectation that OneWeb’s success will contribute to the sale of Hanwha hardware and services.

OneWeb has successfully launched 254 satellites into orbit with another launch scheduled later this month from Kazakhstan.  The company is positioned to offer connectivity services from the 50th parallel and above by the end of the year, with global coverage available in 2022  when it finishes launching its first generation fleet of 648 satellites.

Hanwha’s investment in OneWeb was partially overshadowed by Telesat’s $1.15 billion investment from the government of Canada.  Telesat has secured $4 billion of its estimated $5 billion needed to complete its LEO broadband network, with the majority of its external funding coming from the national and local governments in Canada.

OneWeb is expected to have significant market traction in the UK and India, given that its two out-of-bankruptcy investors are the U.K. government and telecommunications firm Bharti. Partnering with Hanwha may give it additional clout in the defense sector and South Korean markets.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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