The Eutelsat-OneWeb Merger Delivers the First Market-Ready LEO Option for Africa

The Eutelsat-OneWeb Merger Delivers the First Market-Ready LEO Option for Africa

The recently announced merger between the French satellite company Eutelsat (the world’s third-largest satellite operator by revenue) and the United Kingdom’s OneWeb (a fully operational Low Earth Orbit satellite operator) has created the Eutelsat Group, which is now the world’s first GEO-LEO operator. Eutelsat Group is bringing together the best of both GEO and LEO capabilities to offer a one stop shop which brings a direct benefit to all market sectors.

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellite systems offer differing but complementary advantages. Whereas GEO satellites remain in a fixed position relative to the Earth, LEO satellites continually orbit the globe, which means users will connect with multiple ‘LEO satellite base stations’ as the satellites pass overhead. LEO services outperform GEO services in terms of capacity and latency; however, they require more complex antennae arrays and have higher deployment costs. This means that there will be a continued role – and opportunities for continued growth – for both GEO and LEO satellite services.

A combined LEO-GEO service can therefore be described as the best of both worlds, combining as it does both the unmatched capacity and latency advantages of LEO systems and the reliability and cost-effectiveness of GEO systems.

Eutelsat, now Eutelsat Group following the completion of the merger, has significant experience in providing services to the African market and in achieving compliance with local regulatory requirements. The Eutelsat Group business model embraces partnerships with established industry players already servicing Africa.  They fully appreciate that Africa is best serviced by a “from Africa, for Africa” model and they have a track record of success in delivering world-leading solutions to the market in Africa.

An immediate benefit of the merger is the fact that Eutelsat Group can now deliver the user advantages of the emerging global LEO constellations without regulatory and compliance risks.

As an African-based satellite provider, Q-KON Africa understands that industry models are just as important as service specifications, and is therefore building sustainable, long-term partnerships on this basis. Q-KON Africa secured a  distribution partnership with OneWeb in 2022 and the recent Eutelsat – OneWeb merger has further strengthened the service delivery options available to users of Twoobii Smart Satellite Services. 

“Eutelsat’s merger with OneWeb clearly demonstrates our belief that the future of GEO and LEO satellite systems is a case of ‘and’ rather than ‘or’,” commented Stephen Beynon, of Eutelsat OneWeb. “We are committed to developing leading GEO and LEO solutions and to continuing to service Africa through credible and experienced partners such as Q-KON Africa,” he added.  

“We share the confidence of our partner Eutelsat OneWeb in a parallel growth trajectory for LEO and GEO constellations,” commented Dr Dawie de Wet, Group CEO of Q-KON Africa. “Eutelsat OneWeb has a deep understanding of the African business landscape and recognises that working together with the African satellite industry is the key to implementing and sustaining a successful delivery model,” he added.

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