Telstra and OneWeb ink deal on mobile satellite connectivity

Telstra and OneWeb ink deal on mobile satellite connectivity

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Telstra and OneWeb are partnering on rollout of OneWeb Low Earth Orbit (LEO) backhaul for a commercial mobile network.

“It [the agreement] allows us to extend our options for our consumer, small business and enterprise customers in hard-to-reach places across rural and regional Australia - especially those that require added redundancy in the instance of a power or transmission incident,” said Nikos Katinakis, group executive, global networks and technology at Telstra.

“Our initial focus is using the service as a backhaul medium to connect remote mobile base stations. In time, it also offers us capability to deliver voice and fixed broadband services to regional Australia.”

Following testing in Australia, Telstra and OneWeb have agreed commercial terms and will begin moving hundreds of existing remote mobile base stations currently using satellite backhaul to OneWeb’s LEO solution starting from later this year.

At the same time, Telstra will adopt OneWeb LEO services for future sites where satellite backhaul is the preferred or only option.

Through the collaboration up to 25Gbs of LEO capacity will be delivered to Telstra’s most remote mobile customers across Australia.

Katinakis said the new capability will help Telstra expand its regional coverage and supports its T25 commitment to deliver an additional 100,000 sq km of mobile coverage by the end of 2025.

“We plan to extend the testing program for additional use cases including network backhaul resilience, such as a back-up to fixed backhaul for selected critical sites," added Katinakis.

"As well as into emerging use cases for business, enterprise and government customers like IoT and connectivity on the move for the emergency services agencies, mining, oil and gas sector.”

The news builds on the long-standing partnership between the two companies. Telstra has been working with OneWeb to test its latest technology and will continue providing input into OneWeb’s future products and capabilities.

OneWeb’s services are anticipated to begin in Australia mid-year, with global service available in early 2024.

“This is a first for us in terms of its scale and integration. For the first time in Australia, we’re working with a major partner to deliver OneWeb’s service across an entire continent for the benefit of remote users including consumers, enterprises and government agencies," said David Thorn, vice president of APAC at OneWeb,

“From our perspective, it's one of the largest single rollouts of LEO satellite capacity for mobile backhaul worldwide. Telstra will also be pivotal in collaborating with us on future generations of OneWeb product development.”

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