Bharti Group-backed satellite broadband startup OneWeb and Saudi Arabia's Neom Tech and Digital Holding Company have signed a pact for a USD200 million joint venture to provide satellite-based services to the Middle East and East African countries.
The joint venture firm will see the deployment of OneWeb's Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to provide connectivity to enable Neom's ecosystem of cognitive technologies.
Neom Tech and Digital Holding Company is the first holding company to be established as a subsidiary of Neom, a region in Saudi Arabia. OneWeb is an LEO operator with 358 satellites.
The partnership expects to complete ground infrastructure in 2022. ''Neom Tech and Digital Hold Co and the new JV entity will have exclusive rights to distribute OneWeb services in its target regions for seven years from the initiation of the LEO satellite network, which is expected to commence in 2023,'' the statement said.
The agreement also includes a long-term strategic partnership regarding the research and development of future connectivity systems.
Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Investment, Saudi Arabia said: "Today’s agreement will contribute to economic growth and accelerate digital and communications knowledge transfer to the Kingdom through the transformative NEOM vision. As the Ministry of Investment works to implement the National Investment Strategy recently launched by HRH the Crown Prince, we will continue to provide support to this and other differentiated initiatives and projects and look forward to seeing it come to fruition shortly.”
UK Investment Minister Gerry Grimstone said: “This joint venture brings together two emerging space and digital technology champions to deliver connectivity for the Middle East. It demonstrates that the UK Government’s investment in OneWeb continues to be a catalyst for international collaboration while securing jobs at home and driving investment into the UK space sector.”