OneWeb, the massive satellite constellation being planned by Greg Wyler and in which Intelsat has a modest shareholding, will be open to other satellite users of its capacity.
The news, outlined by Japan media conglomerate SoftBank’s Alex Clavel at the giant Washington Satellite 2018 show, saying that notwithstanding the financial link between OneWeb and Intelsat, OneWeb would be open to capacity sales to other geostationary satellite operators.
SoftBank has immense clout with OneWeb as a major $1.5 billion investor in the mega-constellation, and which gives SoftBank certain re-seller rights to the fleet’s capacity. Clavel also told delegates that SoftBank was prepared to invest in manufacturers of broadband user terminals in order to lower unit prices for the devices.
“We will invest massively in return for what we think will be massive returns over the long run,” he added, saying that its involvement in OneWeb was not investing for the short-term and saying that earlier investments (in Alibaba in 1999, Vodafone Japan in 2005 and Yahoo Japan in 1996) all demonstrated its longer-term strategy.
OneWeb’s initial plan is to have some 648 satellites in orbit, starting with launches this year. Founder Wyler says that most of the planned capacity had already been pre-sold. Other plans include a follow-on fleet of an additional 1972 satellites.