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Analyst: “OneWeb positioned for success”

August 31, 2021

By Chris Forrester

Quilty Analytics, a specialist in research on the satellite and space sectors, says that low Earth orbiting (LEO) broadband satellite operator OneWeb is well placed for success.

OneWeb’s next batch of satellites are scheduled to launch on September 14th. Quilty says that following the launch “OneWeb will have deployed about half of its 648-satellite constellation and be on track to reach two-thirds deployment by the end of 2021. Since its Chapter 11 filing in March 2020, the company has raised $2.7 billion in equity financing from strong investors in Asia, Europe and the US who believe that OneWeb has excellent business prospects and that it can also be an enabler to help each of them accomplish their own strategic priorities.”

Chris Quilty, Partner of Quilty Analytics, commented: “After evaluating SpaceX’s Starlink and Telesat’s Lightspeed constellations we now turn our attention to OneWeb. Through these studies, we have advised clients on the market opportunities for LEO broadband systems, along with the challenges each LEO operator faces in achieving sufficient revenue to realise an attractive ROI. We believe OneWeb is well positioned based on several important advantages, including:

· A far lower cost system, reduced by ~$3.4 billion through OneWeb’s Chapter 11 process, which means the company’s revenue goals are more attainable, though certainly still significant with needed run-rate revenue of $1 billion or more.

· OneWeb will be first to market with global coverage in 2022, potentially two-to-three years ahead of other LEO broadband systems targeting Enterprise verticals.

· Strong backing from major shareholders – the UK Government, Bharti Airtel, Eutelsat, SoftBank, Hanwha and Hughes. Each sees important synergies from aligning with OneWeb and all are eager to apply their respective capabilities in supporting OneWeb’s success.”

Quilty’s report adds: “OneWeb still has to execute and overcome other challenges that we discuss in our briefing, but we conclude that if OneWeb does not reach its targeted revenue goal of $1 billion by ~2026, it is hard to see how LEO competitors that have far higher capex and come later will be able to do much better.”

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