Bharti-backed OneWeb and UK’s BT have inked a new distribution partner agreement, under which OneWeb to provide Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communication services across BT Group.
This builds on an initial memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in July, and means BT is testing how LEO satellite technology integrates with its existing terrestrial capabilities to meet the communications needs of customers,” OneWeb and BT said in a joint statement Tuesday.
On successful completion, BT will commence the first live trials with customers from early-2022. The partnership will span a growing range of connectivity solutions around the world as well as specific opportunities for the UK market.
OneWeb’s CEO Neil Masterson said “BT has taken the lead in the recognition of LEO satellite’s advantage,” and this agreement represents an important strategic partnership for OneWeb as we continue to make progress towards our operational launch”. He added that OneWeb’s connectivity platform will help bridge the last digital divides across the country and enhance the nation’s digital infrastructure.
Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT Group, in turn, said “we will put OneWeb’s technology through its paces in our UK labs with the goal of delivering live trials in early 2022”. Delivered securely and at scale, satellite solutions, he said, would be an important part of our plans to expand connectivity throughout the UK and globally, and to further diversify the range of services we can offer our customers”.
OneWeb is readying to take on Elon Musk’s Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper venture in the relatively nascent fast broadband-from-space segment. It will launch satellite broadband services in India too by May 2022.