The timeline on the OneWeb website has some details, with operational launches starting in 2019 and continuing through 2020. Some exciting years ahead :
- 2019: Start satellite launches every 21 days for two years, from multiple launch sites.
- 2020: Turn on the services for early adopters. [ Ground terminals can provide, WiFI, 3G, LTE, and 5G signal modulation, depending on customer needs.]
- 2021: Global G5 ready coverage to customer communities everywhere on the planet.
The FCC buildout schedule for rural community 4G LTE is over the next ten years, stating in 2019. If telecommunication providers are building out 4G LTE in rural areas on government subsidies they are not going to be building comp[eting 5G networks in the same market. The expected build-out for 5G is ten years, starting with the dense urban areas, progressing to transportation corridors and then rural communities were population density is sufficient to cover the installation and operating costs. Telecommunication is a return on investment driven business. Investors want a return on their investment .
Given that 4G LTE and 5G broadband for many rural communities could be years in the future, satellite broadband will be available in 2021, which is long before 5G will be available in many rural communities. Assuming that satellite broadband is a viable business model and one or more of the planned services survive. The competition is going to be vigorous with three or more LEO broadband providers offering services.
SpaceX is rumored to have the first 75 Starlink spacecraft build, and they could also start launching in the last half of 2019. The race is on to provide rural communities 5G levels of broadband service. It looks like OneWeb is in the lead.