Iridium Communications Inc. and OneWeb have announced they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together toward a combined service offering. This combined service offering would be designed to make it easier for their mutual partners to offer unique bundling and co-marketing opportunities for the Iridium Certus® L-band services and OneWeb’s Ku-band service. The offering would leverage the strengths of their respective low-Earth-orbit (LEO) networks. This is the first time that LEO operators have collaborated to deliver services in L-band and Ku-band.
The MoU also creates opportunities for companies that manufacture both OneWeb and Iridium CertusTM terminals. Such new options could include Iridium-OneWeb companion packages in addition to providers being able to offer combined equipment or even new dual-constellation terminals.
While both are LEO constellations, Iridium® and OneWeb services have different capabilities on their respective bands (L-band and Ku-band), which can create a complementary, full-service option for applications such as heads of state comms, critical tactical services, maritime, disaster response and more.
“It’s an exciting time for the industry, and we see great potential for this offering,” says Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. “Our services are unique and complementary, and we know that customers are looking for the capabilities of both our low-Earth-orbiting networks.”
Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb says, “We believe our new offering can bring many benefits for our distribution partners. By combining the strengths of our services, we can ensure our partners are able to deliver the most innovative, seamless services to their subscribers across many markets, and in all the places that don’t yet have access to the internet.”
Due to the physics associated with L-band and Ku-band spectrum, the two come with different yet complementary attributes. The OneWeb network will deliver very high-speed broadband connectivity that transfers large amounts of data. It is ideal for applications including Inflight WiFi, Government, and Maritime networks that require global reach, high speed and low latency. Iridium’s crosslinked satellite constellation brings seamless truly global connectivity with highly weather resilient L-band user terminals, making it uniquely suited to provide safety services for ships, aircraft, vehicles and deployed personnel, and can be a regulation-required capability. The combined power of these two networks can work together to deliver capacity, resiliency, and high-speed connectivity to customers anywhere in the world.
With the first six satellites already launched, OneWeb’s system has already demonstrated broadband speeds of 400 Mbps and an average latency of 32 milliseconds. OneWeb will begin monthly launches of more than 30 satellites per month starting in December enabling OneWeb to provide partial service in late 2020 and global coverage in 2021. Iridium Certus® is Iridium’s new technology platform launched in January 2019, and offers the flexibility to scale device speeds, sizes and power requirements both up and down based on the needs of the end-user.