SoftBank to put additional $500m of investment in OneWeb, reports claim

James Pearce
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Japanese giant SoftBank invested $1 billion in OneWeb last year, but a report from the Wall Street Journal claims it is set to plough additional funding into the satellite firm

Japanese technology giant SoftBank is set to plough another $500 million into satellite broadband provider OneWeb, according to the Wall Street Journal.

SoftBank has already invested around $1 billion into OneWeb, which plans to offer faster internet services based on a proposed constellation of 648 communications satellites.

The WSJ report claims that talks about an exact figure are ongoing, but OneWeb executive chairman and founder Greg Wyler and Masayoshi Son, the chairman at SoftBank, have reportedly agreed to a cash infusion, so long as the Japanese firm’s stake does not surpass 50%.

OneWeb is set to begin launching its fleet of satellites in 2018 and begin operations the following year. Wyler said the company has already began designing the fleet and seeking suppliers.

SoftBank has been a major backer of the project, with other investors including the likes of Qualcomm, Airbus Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems and Virgin tycoon Richard Branson.

OneWeb was almost part of a major merger with rival satellite provider Intelsat, but the deal was ultimately called off after Intelsat’s bondholders – believed to hold bonds worth around $15 billion – failed to back a deal.

In an interview with GTB last year, OneWeb CEO Eric Beranger said SoftBank will look to market its satellite backhaul services to companies worldwide. OneWeb claims its service will offer similar speeds and latencies to fibre services.