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OneWeb agrees SoftBank alliance to get Japanese regulatory approvals

SoftBank, the largest internet company in Japan, has established a partnership with OneWeb to extend its low-earth orbit (LEO) broadband services in Japan and around the world. They’ll support satellite networking services using a mix of OneWeb and SoftBank services, such as advanced communication and DX platform services.

Obtaining regulatory approvals and establishing ground stations in Japan are part of this partnership. The partnership with SoftBank, which has invested in OneWeb, is an important step toward securing regulatory approvals and establishing floor stations for the startup’s growing constellation in Japan.

SoftBank holds stakes in technology, energy, and economic businesses all over the world, and it also runs a telecommunications company in Japan, serving more than 45 million mobile phone and business subscribers.

OneWeb stated that their partnership will market their combined communications products and services, which will include platforms developed by SoftBank to digitize business operations.

SoftBank’s net money for the fiscal year ended March 31 was approximately $46 billion, a new high for a Japanese comprehensive business.

These figures were helped by profitable bets in the company’s $100 billion Eyesight Fund and its successor, which included profits from South Korean e-commerce company Coupang and food-shipping and distribution service DoorDash when they were listed on public markets.

The performance will fuel investor interest in SoftBank founder Masa Son, who often talks about investing in the near future when universal communication reaches “singularity,” or when computers can think more intelligently than humans.

COVID-19 was blamed by Son after SoftBank reported its first annual loss in 15 years in 2020, with an operating loss of 1.36 trillion yen ($12.7 billion).

The Japanese firm was an early OneWeb dealer. It attempted to engineer a merger between the startup and Intelsat, a satellite fleet operator that operates satellites in geostationary orbit, at one point (GEO).

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, Intelsat filed for bankruptcy protection in May probably 2020, a procedure it is still working through a year later.

SoftBank returned with a $350 million capital injection after the British government and Indian telecom company Bharti Worldwide rescued OneWeb from Chapter 11 in November. Hughes Network Units, which manufactures parts of OneWeb’s ground section, put $50 million into the project.

It has already deployed more than a third of its 648 LEO satellite fleet, ahead of its target of launching partial solutions by the end of this year and globally in 2022.

OneWeb announced on May 10 that it will invest an undisclosed sum in Texas-based operated satcoms provider TrustComm as part of plans to create a new government subsidiary to market its services.

After securing a demo deal with the United States Air Power Investigation Laboratory (AFRL) for strategic Arctic locations, OneWeb, which expects the Department of Defense to be its top customer, announced the acquisition. The agreement’s primary contractor is Hughes.

SoftBank aims to provide advanced seamless networking services and DX network services by using global connectivity technologies that combine OneWeb’s services to provide Internet connectivity worldwide and to digitalize and revolutionize analog industries.

OneWeb deployed 36 satellites into its constellation on April 26, 2021. With this successful launch, OneWeb now has 182 satellites in orbit out of a total of 648 LEO satellites.