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LEO constellation operators OneWeb, Iridium announce collaboration

17 Sep 2019, 20:56 UTC
LEO constellation operators OneWeb, Iridium announce collaboration
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WASHINGTON — Iridium and OneWeb, two companies pursuing different types of telecommunications businesses from low Earth orbit, said Sept. 17 that they would work together on a combined service offering.
The companies signed a memorandum of understanding at Iridium’s annual partner conference in Coronado, California.
Iridium CEO Matt Desch has long said that his company’s 66-satellite constellation doesn’t compete with broadband startup OneWeb because the companies use two different frequencies.
“It will be pretty rarely that people will look and try to pick one over the other for an application, because we both specialize where we specialize,” Desch told SpaceNews Sept. 17.
Iridium’s recently completed Iridium Next constellation uses L-band, a robust, but lower throughput frequency. The company plans to provide speeds up to 1.4 megabits per second for voice and data services through an offering called Iridium Certus.
OneWeb has six of a planned 650 initial satellites in orbit using Ku-band, a higher frequency with a slightly weaker signal but the ability to carry significantly more throughput. Dylan Browne, OneWeb’s vice president of government, said the company will be able to deliver hundreds of megabits per second to customers. OneWeb anticipates its average customer will want ...

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