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Telstra and OneWeb seal deal on delivering new satellite solutions

Telstra and OneWeb are set to deliver one of the world’s largest rollouts of OneWeb low Earth Orbit (LEO) backhaul for a commercial mobile network. After 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 from later this year. Meanwhile, Telstra will adopt OneWeb LEO services for future sites where satellite backhaul is the preferred or only viable option.

The strategic agreement will see up to 25 Gbit/s of LEO capacity being delivered to Telstra’s most remote mobile customers across Australia to help enhance their experience when using real-time applications such as voice and video calling, and in time to expand mobile coverage as it supports new remote site deployments.

Nikos Katinakis, Telstra Group Executive, Global Networks and Technology said Telstra was excited to have finalised the agreement that is the start of a long-term partnership with OneWeb.

“It 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” he said.

“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.”

Mr Katinakis said the capability will help Telstra expand its regional coverage and supports the T25 commitment to deliver an additional 100,000 square kilometres of mobile coverage by the end of FY25.

“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. 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,” he said.

David Thorn, Vice President, APAC at OneWeb, said this was the start of a growing reciprocal relationship between the two companies. “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..

“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.”

Telstra has been working with OneWeb to test its latest technology and will continue providing input into OneWeb’s future products and capabilities. OneWeb has more than 630 satellites in orbit today, with global coverage on track for the end of the year. OneWeb’s services are anticipated to begin in Australia mid-year, with worldwide service available in early 2024.

The partnership complements Telstra’s T25 ambition to grow and extend its network leadership position and extend mobile coverage across the country. BCS Bureau

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