INDIA’S telecoms major Bharti Enterprises will have a 21.1 per cent stake in Eutelsat Group, formed by the merger of the European satellite operator Eutelsat and the UK’s OneWeb.
Eutelsat Group, which will remain headquartered in Paris, has named Sunil Bharti Mittal as its co-chair.
OneWeb will be a subsidiary operating commercially as Eutelsat OneWeb with its centre of operation being London.
The group will roll out its services in India this year, Mittal, who is also the chairperson of Bharti, said
“Bharti is excited about providing services in India later this year and importantly, reaching other countries in the global south to provide broadband connectivity to those who are deprived of being a part of the digital revolution,” Mittal added.
Bharti is the largest stakeholder in OneWeb with a 30 per cent per cent shareholding, followed by Eutelsat (22.9 per cent), the UK government (17.6 per cent) and Japan’s SoftBank (17.6 per cent).
Shareholders of Eutelsat on Thursday (28) approved a $3.4 billion (£2.94 bn) merger deal with OneWeb, with the new entity set to rival the likes of Elon Musk’s Starlink.
The approval came at an extraordinary general meeting for a partnership targeting sales of “some €2 bn (£1.73 bn) in 2027”, equivalent to double-digit annual growth, the company said.
For Eutelsat, the merger underpins a pivot towards telecoms, with the market for high-speed connections via low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, which help serve isolated regions.
Notable rivals include Amazon and Starlink, which has already netted more than two million clients.
Starlink has nearly 3,600 satellites in orbit and has obtained authorisation to deploy 7,500 of 30,000 second-generation satellites.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos meanwhile is planning to deploy more than 3,200 satellites for his Kuiper constellation.
China is also in the race, deploying its Guowang fleet of 13,000 satellites.