Low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite provider OneWeb has secured yet another connectivity deal.

Nick Wood

March 3, 2023

3 Min Read
Communication network above Earth for global business and finance digital exchange. Internet of things (IoT), blockchain,
Communication network above Earth for global business and finance digital exchange. Internet of things (IoT), blockchain, smart connected cities, futuristic technology concept. Satellite view.

Low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite provider OneWeb has secured yet another connectivity deal.

This one appears to be particularly significant because it is with Veon, which operates in no fewer than seven markets with a combined population of around 510 million, and serves around 200 million customers.

Under the deal, which was announced at Mobile World Congress this week, OneWeb’s constellation  will provide extended mobile Internet connectivity and digital services in Veon’s emerging-market footprint.

According to Veon and OneWeb, some of these countries have some of the lowest population densities in the world, uneven population distribution, internal migration patterns, economic resources in remote areas, and are prone to natural disasters. In short, they represent an ideal target market for satellite-based communication services.

“We have always stated that our focus is ‘4G for all’ and that mobile communication is an essential service. Our partnership with OneWeb enables us to ensure that the continuity of this essential service can be secured everywhere, providing access to seamless connectivity and digital services, supporting resilience, and enabling growth.” said Veon CEO Kaan Terzioglu, in a statement.

He cited the usual suspects as potential use cases: disaster response, stimulating economic activity in remote regions, and serving rural areas with mobile education, healthcare and financial services.

“With this partnership we can support the development of telecoms and digital infrastructure in emerging markets, working with Veon to ensure the essential roll-out of mobile connectivity,” said OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson. “We look forward to capitalising on the potential that this partnership has for the customers and communities we serve, while ensuring that OneWeb remains the partner of choice for telco operators globally.”

OneWeb certainly seems to be proving popular lately.

Earlier in February, OneWeb signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kazakhstan National Railways, under which they will explore the provision of satellite connectivity for railway stations and rolling stock across the country, which incidentally is also one of Veon’s markets.

That came just one day after OneWeb signed a multi-year deal worth $50 million with Canadian business services provider Galaxy Broadband. Backed by OneWeb, Galaxy is targeting enterprises that operate in isolated locations including mines and remote communities across Canada, including the northern territory of Nunavut, which encompasses the country’s arctic archipelago.

“There are numerous communities throughout Canada that do not have access to broadband Internet, with the challenge in Nunavut being particularly acute as the Territory is 100 percent dependent on satellite connectivity services,” said Galaxy CEO and founder Rick Hodgkinson, in a statement at the time.

All these deals serve to highlight just how far OneWeb has come since it was bailed out in 2020. Its LEO constellation now stands at 544 satellites – the latest batch launched on a SpaceX rocket in January. It means OneWeb has now put into orbit around 80% of its planned deployment. It says it will be capable of delivering global coverage when completed later this year.


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About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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