On the morning of its first satellite(s) launch, broadband provider OneWeb announced its first two client agreements and rolled out a substantial rework of its website. The refresh now includes material promoting the network as “5G ready” and adds new contacts for press and distribution partners.
OneWeb’s first two agreements with Talia and Intermatica are being signed today, February 27, at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. UK-based Talia, a teleport/satellite/terrestrial operator, will use OneWeb services to delivery services for its Quika consumer broadband and community WiFi service in Africa and the Middle East, among other regions. Service is expected to start on line in 2021 with “virtually all” of Talia’s markets around the world activated by 2023.
“Bringing on board Talia and Intermatica at the very start of our commercialization phase demonstrates the pent-up demand for our global coverage solution and showcases how companies are thinking ahead to meet the future IoT and 5G demands of their customers as well,” said Nicolas Zibell, Chief Commercial Officer, OneWeb. “OneWeb offers simple product, service and pricing options to ensure that it’s easy for clients, resellers and operators to do business with us.”
Intermetica, an Italian provider of broadband and VoIP telecommunications services for business in Europe, will be OneWeb’s first distribution partner in Europe. OneWeb will need plenty of business customers to pay the bills, given a $4 billion to $6 billion estimate to complete the initial satellite constellation of 650 satellites.
OneWeb’s revised website now touts the forthcoming satellite constellation as “the first 5G ready network in space. Providing broadband access for everyone, everywhere. On land, at sea, and in the air.” Vertical segments promoted on the site include aviation, unconnected schools, maritime, and telecommunications.
In addition, email contacts for media and distribution partners have been released on the site. Most media communication to date with OneWeb has been spotty, with founder & CEO Greg Wyler sharing tidbits of information on Twitter, while multiple email inquires and phone calls by this reporter and at least one other at another outlet. Previously, there was no contact information for distribution partners on this site.
Later today, at 4:37 pm ET, OneWeb expects to launch its first 6 satellites onboard a Soyuz rocket from the Arianespace complex in French Guyana. The first satellites are expected to get a significant workout before larger groups of satellites are launched later this year. OneWeb’s initial operational constellation is expected to have 650 satellites in place, with over 30 satellites put into orbit per launch. The company has a contract for up to 21 launches on the Russian-made Soyuz to put the bulk of its constellation into orbit.