Satellite 2021 OneWeb Hughes sign US and India service agreements

OneWeb adds Hughes as second U.S. sales channel, plus India

National Harbor, MD – Hughes Network Systems and OneWeb have signed agreements for Hughes to be a distributor of OneWeb services in the U.S. and a MOU towards an agreement to distribute services in India.  Both agreements are equally important as OneWeb continues builds a global network of resellers and other sales channels.

“The future of connectivity depends on a worldwide network of multiple transports, including terrestrial, geostationary and Low Earth Orbit satellite services,” said Pradman Kaul, President of Hughes. “OneWeb’s system enhances the Hughes portfolio of networking capabilities, introducing a low-latency option with global reach that complements GEO satellite capacity density and capability to meet our customers’ needs. As a case in point, in India which has been starved of high-throughput satellite services, the OneWeb services will help us meet the tremendous backhaul and broadband demand.”

Hughes becomes the second major U.S. reseller announced this week at the Satellite 2021 conference, with AT&T announced on September 8, but yesterday’s joint announcement at the show shouldn’t be a major surprise given that Hughes parent EchoStar has invested in OneWeb and Hughes is a major ground equipment supplier for the LEO satellite broadband service provider.

Under the U.S. agreement, Hughes will primarily market to enterprise customers – again, not a surprise, since Hughes has been connecting enterprise customer to remote locations through a variety of means over the years, including point-of-sale satellite and terrestrial connectivity.

Hughes has been talking about advantages of multi-orbit connectivity as a solution for enterprises users. The September 9, 2021 press conference included a demonstration of multi-orbit connectivity using Hughes JUPITER 2 GEO satellite and OneWeb’s LEO constellation, with Hughes ActiveTechnologies software evaluating data traffic answer and transmitting it over the most efficient path, with latency-sensitive applications – gaming and a video call, in the demo – using OneWeb while bandwidth-intensive activities like video streaming were moved over the JUPITER connection.

While the demonstrations included consumer applications, Hughes clearly stated the company was focused on enterprise and business sales.  A OneWeb executive said the U.S. enterprise market was big enough so there shouldn’t be channel conflicts between Hughes and AT&T.  Hughes is the prime contractor working with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab to demonstrate LEO satellite communications capacity on OneWeb in the Arctic, a capability that should be fully operational by the end of the year with the current number of satellites in orbit.

The India announcement is also not as surprising as one might think, given Hughes’ operational history in India and the merger of Bharti Airtel’s satellite operations with Hughes Communications India announced in May 2021.  Given Bharti’s status in India and its significant investment in OneWeb, Hughes will stand to significantly benefit.

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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