The agreement also includes a long-term strategic partnership regarding research and development of future connectivity systems
Bharti-backed LEO satellite provider OneWeb has signed a $200 million joint venture agreement with Saudi Arabia’s NEOM Tech & Digital Holding Company to bring high-speed satellite connectivity to NEOM, Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and neighboring East African countries.
The agreement also includes a long-term strategic partnership regarding the research and development of future connectivity systems.
The companies expect to complete ground infrastructure in 2022. NEOM Tech & Digital Hold Co. and the new JV entity will have exclusive rights to distribute OneWeb services in its target regions for seven years from the initiation of the LEO satellite network, which is expected to commence in 2023.
Joseph Bradley, CEO, NEOM Tech & Digital Hold Co, said, “We aim to connect 100% of NEOM’s territory yet we must also preserve the natural environment. This is what drives us to innovate with partners such as OneWeb to create sustainable ways to accelerate human progress. The partnership has the potential to transform the way governments, businesses and communities connect to the internet.”
Sunil Mittal, Executive Chairman, OneWeb, said, – “This agreement will help realize our joint vision of boosting connectivity in Saudi Arabia, Middle-East and East Africa. It exemplifies the model through which OneWeb’s services will reach unconnected or poorly connected regions – through cooperation with international governments and local partners.”
Currently, OneWeb uses the latest security protection employed in advanced mobile networks. NEOM Tech & Digital Hold Co. will be trialing technologies to provide further security protection as well as testing new, more robust and resistant positioning and navigation solutions.
The partnership supports NEOM Tech & Digital Hold Co.’s international connectivity strategy, which will use connections to sub-sea and terrestrial communications cables, the construction of 5G and fibre networks, and now LEO satellites to secure access to tens of terabytes of scalable capacity for both urban and rural businesses and communities in NEOM by 2030.