Advanced Television

OneWeb/Iridium to collaborate

September 19, 2019

By Chris Forrester

Iridium has 66 satellites in orbit, while OneWeb plans to populate space with at least 650 satellites.

At Iridium’s partner conference in California, the two signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on a combined service for clients.

The two operate on different frequencies so are not direct competitors. Iridium’s $3 billion Next constellation operates in L-band and sells its high-speed (up to 1.4 Mb/s) service as Iridium Certus.

The OneWeb service- backed in the main by Japan’s SoftBank, when it starts will use Ku-band although spread across the eventual system it will be capable of delivering hundreds of megabits per second. Typically, says OneWeb, its users will want access to 50 Mb/s.

The proposed ‘pairing’ service is expected to include joint physical products with user terminals which can access both systems.

OneWeb has a half-dozen satellites in orbit but will start larger deployments this coming December. Partial services should begin by the end of 2020, with a complete service during 2021.

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