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Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket company, which also has plans afoot to build and launch its own ‘super-constellation of more than 7500 V-band satellites, is objecting to Jersey-based OneWeb and its potential financial partner SoftBank of Japan with their plans for its 648-satellite constellation.
SpaceX’s complaint is that the OneWeb/SoftBank financial structure is far from clear. SpaceX is asking for greater clarity on who is investing in the OneWeb/SoftBank scheme, and alleging that investors could possibly include Saudi Arabia. SpaceX says the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should “defer consideration” of the OneWeb application for its orbital spectrum until the financial structure is made public.
OneWeb argues that the FCC’s regulations require for that any change of ownership status needs only to be made after – and not before – a transaction is completed.
Currently, what is known is that OneWeb’s main shareholders are telco giant Qualcomm (via its Qualcomm Global Trading of Singapore) with a 20.17 per cent stake, media conglomerate SoftBank Group of Japan (19.98 per cent), Airbus Group (13.34 per cent), 1110 Ventures LLC (based in Nevada and Florida) 11.84 per cent, and British Virgin Island’s-based Vieco Nominees (11.61 per cent).
The OneWeb/SoftBank pair are also in the process of merging with Intelsat, subject to acceptance by Intelsat’s bond-holders to a proposed re-financing of Intelsat’s debt.