Low Earth Orbit satellite firm OneWeb and operator Telefónica have teamed up to bring network connectivity to rural and remote parts of Europe and Latin America.
OneWeb and Telefónica Global Solutions – a subsidiary of Telefónica that handles international wholesale, global roaming, multinationals and US businesses – have got together and signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding to improve connectivity services across Europe and Latin America.’
Which seems like a rather grand way of saying they are collaborating on a project to boost connectivity in those regions. The focus seems to be on lighting up rural and remote areas, with OneWeb’s LEO satellites enabling Telefónica’s network to get to hard to reach areas.
TGS will apparently help supply OneWeb’s low latency cellular backhaul services, which can be deployed to help improve existing backhaul and support network upgrades to 4G/5G. It will also provide backhaul backup for critical sites and infill capacity for special events. In areas where there is no backhaul, OneWeb’s will be able to help expand Telefónica’s mobile coverage and extend enterprise connectivity.
“This arrangement is fantastic news for communities across Europe and Latin America, who will benefit from better and enhanced network coverage,” said OneWeb’s Chief Executive Officer, Neil Masterson. “OneWeb believes that our unique network has a crucial role to play in providing connectivity for the hardest-to-reach areas globally, so we look forward to working with Telefónica to deliver enhanced internet performance and availability to customers.”
Julio Beamonte, Chief Executive Officer at Telefónica Global Solutions commented added: “Our goal is to empower our customers’ businesses by connecting them to the world through innovative broadband solutions. By partnering with OneWeb, we can augment our portfolio by offering solutions that require low latency.
“Our experience will be essential when adapting the OneWeb solution to provide corporate, B2B and cellular backhaul services and help fuel adoption of critical business applications in the hardest-to-connect areas. We are focused on helping our B2B and Wholesale customers to drive transformational change in their business, and we believe our partnership with OneWeb will help us do that.”
OneWeb has signed multiple deals with organisations across the globe in the last few months. Last month it signed an agreement with New Space India – the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation – which will see its craft begin launching later this year from the Satrish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
In March it signed an agreement to allow it to resume sending up satellites into space again by using SpaceX rockets, following its decision to suspend all its upcoming satellite launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a spaceport located in Khazakstan and leased to Russia, due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Following that it announced a distribution partnership agreement with fellow satellite operator Eutelsat, which will apparently allow the two firms to develop combined GEO and LEO ‘connectivity solutions.’ At about the same time, it was announced Australian telco Telstra is set to build three dedicated teleports across Australia to provide satellite gateway services (ground based comms, essentially) for OneWeb in the Southern Hemisphere, as part of a ten year deal between the two companies.