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Omnispace Satellite 5G Network Secures $60M in Equity Financing

By Jeffrey Hill | February 2, 2021

    Rendering of the two initial NGSO satellites that Thales Alenia Space plans to develop for Omnispace. Photo: Omnispace

    Omnispace, the Washington, D.C. startup that wants to provide 5G connectivity from space, has received $60 million in equity financing from a consortium of investors led by Fortress Investment Group, including Columbia Capital, Greenspring Associates, TDF Ventures and Telcom Ventures.

    Ram Viswanathan, Omnispace’s president and CEO, said in a Tuesday announcement that his company would use the new funds to accelerate the process of validating 3GPP standards-based 5G products and technologies, demonstrating 5G connectivity from space, and securing both 2 GHz S-band mobile satellite service and the complementary ground component spectrum that will anchor its hybrid mobile system. Startups typically use equity financing to pay short-term bills as they work to meet long-term goals.

    Unlike others who see satellite connectivity playing a back-up role in providing 5G wireless services, Omnispace believes that satellites can play a leading role by providing 5G and mobile Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity to mobile devices around the world using 2 GHz S-band spectrum and a hybrid network that includes its own group of small satellites. Omnispace hopes to both launch its satellites and roll out its network services in phases starting in 2022.

    Fortress Investment Group Managing Partner Joshua Pack said that he sees Omnispace as the next evolution of mobile telecommunications. “The company recognizes that industries now require truly global mobile connectivity without compromise. Omnispace will be the first to power global 5G from space to universal devices on a single, seamless network,” said Pack.

    Omnispace is working with a large group of technology partners to produce its satellites. In April 2020, the company contracted Thales Alenia Space to build the first two satellites of its planned constellation. Two months later in June, Thales issued a subcontract to NanoAvionics  to build the initial two satellite buses for the payloads.

    Thales Alenia Space is also partnering with Anywaves for the Omnispace satellite antenna design and with Syrlinks for various infrastructure technology. Exolaunch will provide launch, mission management, integration, and deployment services for these two Omnispace satellites, which will be sent into orbit on SpaceX rideshare missions sometime next year.

    Omnispace was established in 2012 and is led by a group of satellite industry veterans and former regulatory community leaders including Jay Yass (formerly of Intelsat), Dennis Matheson (TerreStar), Mindel De La Torre (former chief of the International Bureau at the FCC), Brian Pemberton (Iridium), Campbell Marshall (former aide to the George W. Bush administration), and others.

    The company’s board includes Intelsat CCO Samer Halawi; Former Verizon Vice Chairman Lawrence Babbio; former XM Satellite Radio Chairman and CEO Gary Parsons; and FirstNet Board Member Edward Horowitz.