India's Bharti Enterprises Tuesday said Qatar, along with other investors, have given "good enough" capital for helping it go ahead with laying cutting edge communication infrastructure, including in the international arena.
Bharti Global-led OneWeb, a low earth orbital satellite communication provider with 648-satellite fleet, expects to provide services in the coming year.
This was announced by Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and founder of Bharti Enterprises, at the Qatar Economic Forum, powered by Bloomberg.
Highlighting that it refuses more capital than it accepts; he said the Bharti Enterprises has been blessed with "significant" investors. Qatar Foundation and the (Qatari) government have made the largest investment in India, which is in Bharti Airtel.
"The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has invested good enough with us," he said. Bharti Airtel had in 2019 raised $200mn from the QIA to pare debts at its Africa unit.
Asked about its plans for world connectivity, Mittal said the group has been addressing the key issue of connectivity as more than half of the world is offline at present.
In this regard, he highlighted the plans of London-headquartered OneWeb, in which the UK government and Bharti Global had invested a total of $1bn equally in July 2020.
Early this year, Bharti Global-backed OneWeb had launched 36 satellites, thus making it a total in-orbit constellation of 218 satellites. These would be a part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will look to deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.
"We are firing from all the cylinders...We have taken a very big bold bet, i.e. OneWeb, which is going to serve every square inch of the world, whether earth, ocean, mountains, deserts or jungles. We will have radio signals to serve the people who are not connected to the Internet," he said.
LEO satellites offer connectivity to areas that were earlier inaccessible and this assumes significance especially in the pandemic era where education is being imparted digitally.
Appreciative of Qatar's efforts to support education internationally, Mittal said he served Education Above All, undertaken by its Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, and was impressed by Doha's highly focused strategy in the education sector.