NEOM’s tech unit & OneWeb forms $200mn JV for satellite network

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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NEOM Tech & Digital Holding Company, the first holding company to be established as a subsidiary of NEOM, has signed a $200 million deal with OneWeb, a UK-based global communications company, to bring high-speed satellite connectivity to the Saudi megacity of NEOM, Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and neighboring East African countries.

Under the deal a joint venture (JV) entity will be formed, which will see the deployment of OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, which will give reliable connectivity to enable NEOM’s ecosystem of cognitive technologies and transform businesses and rural communities in the region where access to fiber-like internet was previously unimaginable.

Further, the agreement includes a long-term strategic partnership regarding the research and development of future connectivity systems.

Khalid Al Falih
Khalid Al Falih
Minister of Investment
Saudi Arabia

“It is a great pleasure to witness the signing of the joint venture between NEOM and OneWeb, which is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s promising future in the space technology sectors. Today’s agreement will contribute to economic growth and accelerate digital and communications knowledge transfer to the kingdom through the transformative NEOM vision.”

NEOM Tech & Digital Holding and OneWeb, the second-largest LEO operator with 358 satellites and the only licensed operator in Saudi Arabia, expect to complete ground infrastructure in 2022. 

The new JV entity and NEOM Tech & Digital Holding will have exclusive rights to distribute OneWeb services in its target regions for seven years from the initiation of the LEO satellite network, which is expected to commence in 2023.

“We still have nine years to complete our journey and we are confident that we will meet all requirements so that NEOM will be in the location that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the board of directors, wanted it to be an unprecedented event in the history of mankind,” said Mr. Nazim Al Nasr, chief executive of the NEOM project.

The partnership supports NEOM Tech & Digital Holding’s global connectivity strategy, which will use connections to sub-sea and terrestrial communications cables, the construction of 5G and fiber networks, and now LEO satellites to secure access to tens of terabytes of scalable capacity for both urban and rural businesses and communities in NEOM by 2030.

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