Japan based SoftBank will invest $1.2 billion into OneWeb giving SoftBank Group around 40% stake in the internet startup. In series A funding, OneWeb had raised $500 million from Airbus, Qualcomm, Virgin, Boeing, Bharti, Hughes, Intelsat, MDA and Coca Cola.
SoftBank and OneWeb said the new capital will support the construction of a manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida. Also the investment is expected to create roughly 3,000 engineering, manufacturing and support jobs in the U.S in next four years.
OneWeb said that it will launch 10 production satellites in early 2018 with the aim of introducing 72 low orbit satellites six months later, with an aim to make broadband service operational as soon as 2019. OneWeb’s goal is to offer fast internet-via-space connectivity to everything from vehicles in urban areas to rural U.S. homes and schools in developing countries.
OneWeb is a communications company founded by Greg Wyler in 2012. The company plans to launch the OneWeb satellite constellation, a network of 648 Low Earth orbit microsatellites, starting in late 2017. Its intended goal is to “reach hundreds of millions of potential users residing in places without [existing] broadband access”.
About SoftBank Group
SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation established on September 3, 1981, and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.
It has interests in broadband, fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce, Internet, technology services, finance, media and marketing, semiconductor design, and other businesses.
SoftBank operates SoftBank Mobile in Japan, owns Sprint Corp. in the U.S., holds stakes in Chinese e-commerce Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Japanese internet portal Yahoo Japan Corp and owns ARM Holdings PLC.