Bharti Enterprises Limited — India’s multinational Conglomerate and the parent company of Airtel, was recently involved in a historic deal that might transform the face of the global telecom industry. The company acquired 45% stake in OneWeb — a global communication company based in the United Kingdom.
After initial successes, OneWeb had problems in raising capital and finally on 27th March 2020, it filed for bankruptcy. On 3 July 2020, Mittal Group and the UK government won a bid to buy the OneWeb, with each of them investing USD500 million.
Despite being under huge pressure in the Indian market owing to the rise of Reliance Jio, Airtel has managed to win this bid that might see it becoming a part of the global telecom and internet revolution in the years to come. “OneWeb’s platform will reduce the digital divide. It will provide high speed, low latency broadband access to the poor and hard-to-reach areas,” said Sunil Mittal, the founder and chairperson of Bharti Enterprises after the deal. Mr Mittal has always been interested in saving One Web as he signaled in the recently concluded ISRO meet.
Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, OneWeb aspires to provide internet access to all, including people in the remotest areas. Its motto is “Shouldn’t everyone have access to the world’s information?” OneWeb’s mega-plans include launching home-like 150 kg satellites into the lower orbit of space. Wireless internet services are expected to grow bigger and bigger after this experiment.
India is expected to be at the forefront of the internet-to-all movement. Apart from One Web, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are also among big players aiming for satellite-based mobile networks.