Mangata seeks permission to connect UK user terminals

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TAMPA, Fla. — Mangata Networks, a U.S. satellite startup founded by a former OneWeb executive, has applied for a U.K. license to connect broadband terminals to its planned multi-orbit constellation.

The startup expects to begin services in the United Kingdom and across North America and Northern Europe by 2025, according to a license application British telecoms regulator Ofcom published Sept. 20.

These initial services would follow two launches of a total eight satellites in 2024 to highly elliptical orbit (HEO).

Phoenix, Arizona-based Mangata announced plans last year for a research and development center in Edinburgh, Scotland, to develop its technologies, although the startup has not said who will build or launch its satellites. 

Plans for the center followed an investment of about $4 million from Scotland’s national economic development agency.

Mangata ultimately plans to deploy 224 satellites in HEO and 567 in medium Earth orbit to provide services in fixed and mobility markets, including cellular backhaul and aviation.

The startup aims to connect these satellites to phased array antennas smaller than one meter in diameter, and parabolic reflectors larger than one meter, depending on the application.

User terminals less than one meter in diameter would be capable of 50-500 megabits per second (Mbps) speeds, according to Mangata, while larger terminals would serve “capacities 500 Mbps and greater.”

Mangata’s network would use Ka-band spectrum for both its terminals and gateways.

Only SpaceX’s Starlink and OneWeb currently have permission to connect user terminals in the United Kingdom to satellites in non-geostationary orbit (NGSO). These operators deploy terminals in the Ku-band. 

Ofcom said it is continuing to review a request from Canada’s Telesat for an NGSO Earth station network license for its Lightspeed constellation, which also plans to operate both gateways and terminals in the Ka-band.

The regulator recently decided to extend its deadline to make a decision on Telesat’s application to Oct. 14 after asking the Canadian company for more information about its application.

Ofcom is inviting comments from the public on Mangata’s license request by Oct. 18.

Magnata was founded by Brian Holz, a former vice president of space systems at OneWeb and CEO of OneWeb Satellites, the joint venture the operator shares with Airbus to build its satellites.

In January, Mangata said it had raised $33 million in a Series A funding round led by Playground Global, the U.S. venture capital firm that has previously invested in rocket developer Relativity Space.