OneWeb wants to place an initial 650 low-orbiting broadband satellites into space. It has already raised $3.4 billion (€3bn) in funding – but needs more.
OneWeb reportedly needs some $5 billion to get its fleet built and launched, and to start supplying its broadband-by-satellite service to unserved users around the planet.
The company has already partnered with Airbus Defence & Space in a joint-venture to build its satellites at a brand new facility in Florida. Arianespace is contracted to launch most of the satellites but using Russian manufactured rockets. Launches are due to start this December.
OneWeb’s CFO Tom Whayne told delegates at this week’s Paris World Satellite Business Week that the search for fresh funding had already begun. A major investor in OneWeb is Japanese media conglomerate Softbank.
He said: “We are in active discussions with our existing investors as well as some new potential investors for an equity financing. We’ll do one in the next few months. We are also having conversations with a number of third-party debt providers and we’ll do some debt financing in the next few months. And we’ll do a fair amount of equity at some point next year.”
OneWeb’s most recent equity funding round raised $1.25 billion, and saw $500 million coming from Softbank, $300 million from Mexico’s Group Salinas, $200 million from Airbus, $98 million from chip-maker Qualcomm and $27 million from the government of Rwanda.