Kyivstar Partners with OneWeb to Offer Satellite Internet Alternative in Ukraine

by Roman Cheplyk
Thursday, April 11, 2024
Kyivstar Partners with OneWeb to Offer Satellite Internet Alternative in Ukraine

Kyivstar, Ukraine’s leading mobile operator, has embarked on a strategic partnership with British company OneWeb, aiming to provide broadband satellite Internet services across Ukraine

This collaboration positions Kyivstar as the official OneWeb representative in the country, introducing a viable competitor to Starlink's existing satellite Internet service.

Kostyantyn Vechir, B2B Director at Kyivstar, mentioned that OneWeb's technology is currently undergoing tests in cooperation with some of Ukraine's Defense Forces. This initiative is expected to deliver high-speed internet access not just to the business community but also under challenging conditions, catering specifically to the military's requirements.

The initiative arises from the critical need for reliable communication during emergencies, such as massive shelling and power outages experienced in places like Kharkiv. Observations have shown that Starlink's service could falter under intense electronic warfare activities, prompting the exploration for alternative satellite internet solutions.

OneWeb boasts a constellation of approximately 550 low-orbit satellites, with plans for additional launches through SpaceX. The company claims to provide stable and swift internet connectivity, even under adverse conditions.

This development follows the European Union's January announcement of its intention to curb the dominance of Elon Musk's Starlink system. The EU's concerns revolve around reliance on SpaceX for communications during national security crises and its strategy to deploy the IRIS² satellite constellation for secure and military-grade internet services.

Starlink remains a pivotal technology for high-speed internet through its vast low-orbit satellite network, playing a strategic role in ensuring communication for Ukraine's Defense Forces amidst conflict. "This [satellite] constellation is a crucial asset in a conflict, as Ukraine has demonstrated," remarked Thierry Breton, the EU's Internal Market Commissioner, underscoring the strategic importance of satellite communication in modern warfare and crisis management.

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