Mittal also said that Airtel has no plans to buy Bharti Enterprises’ stake in OneWeb UK or invest in the global satellite communications company
Bharti-backed OneWeb will invest around Rs 250-300 crore in setting up new ground stations in India, informed Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal.
This comes as the LEO satellite broadband provider gears up to launch high-speed satellite broadband services in India next year.
Mittal said Bharti Airtel’s equity participation in OneWeb’s India JV would be a tiny sum in its role as custodian of the UK-based LEO satellite operator in India and South Asian markets.
“Airtel will be a partner of choice for OneWeb in India and its equity participation into the OneWeb India JV will be of the order of magnitude of $5-7 million only,” Mittal said.
Mittal also said that Airtel has no plans to buy Bharti Enterprises’ stake in OneWeb UK or invest in the global satellite communications company.
Bharti Global, the overseas arm of Bharti Enterprises, recently said it will invest an additional $500 million (Rs 3,714 crore) into OneWeb. On completion of the investment – likely by the second half of 2021 — Bharti’s overall investment in OneWeb will rise to $1 billion and it will hold a 38.6 per cent stake in the global satellite company.
Last month, Mittal had said OneWeb is in talks with Sasken Technologies, ISRO’s commercial arm, NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) and a few global tech companies to sharply reduce user access terminal costs before launching fast satellite broadband services in India by May 2022.
In India, OneWeb had applied to the telecom department for two permits – a national long distance (NLD) and a GMPCS (global mobile personal communications by satellite services) licence for delivering satellite broadband services using its global LEO constellation. DoT has issued a letter of Intent (LoI) to OneWeb for NLD services via satellite, while the one for GMPCS is awaited.
OneWeb recently put another 34 satellites by Arianespace from the Baikonur Cosmodrome into orbit in a run-up to delivering global services.
With this launch, the total in-orbit constellation of the company has reached 288 satellites.