The leading Indian telecom service provider now jumped to compete amongst the world’s leading icons of the sector. In July 2020, Sunil Mittal- owned Bharti Enterprises Ltd. won a bid to pick up a 45% stake in ‘OneWeb’, a UK-based company which aims to provide affordable wireless internet services anywhere in the world using satellites. This investment of Indian telecom service providers is very ambitious as if the vision of this tie-up will succeed then it can bring a revolution in global telecom services.
What happened recently?
OneWeb which was founded in the UK proposed a mega-constellation of satellites in low earth orbit to deliver affordable wireless internet services to anywhere in the world via space-based Internet. It was decided to complete in 2 phases. In its 1st Phase – 650 satellites were planned to be launched and in 2nd Phase – 1980 satellites were to be launched. By March 2020, it had launched 74 satellites in the initial constellation.
The turning point-
When everything was looking fine, OneWeb filed for bankruptcy on 27 March 2020. It faced a cash crunch amidst difficulties raising capital to complete the build and deployment of the remaining 90% of the network.
So to save it from getting drowned the UK government supported it with an investment of 500Mn USD and took a stake of 45%. Also, the government made a bid to sell its stake in which the Indian giant won the 45% stake in 500Mn USD.
Why is the UK government uplifting a private company from bankruptcy?
Now it’s fine that the government is making efforts to save it from bankruptcy but here arises a question: why the government is trying to save a private company.
So here’s the answer, It’s because of the UK’s interest in supporting OneWeb is to form the basis for a new national navigation system, after the European Union froze Britain out of the most secure elements of the bloc’s project, called Galileo.
Indian company investing in a company heading towards bankruptcy!
Almost half the entire human population is not yet connected. Airtel is one of the largest telecoms operators in India and Africa. It’s difficult to achieve connectivity across several parts of the country such as Nicobar islands, deserts of Rajasthan or forests in Madhya Pradesh through conventional fibre or terrestrial radio connectivity systems.
In regions like South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa where the terrain necessitates the use of satellite-based connectivity, Bharti Airtel will act as the testing ground for all OneWeb products, services and applications. Bharti plans to have the OneWeb LEO satellite constellation services deployed by 2022.