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Posted on : Tuesday 30th April 2019 02:06 PM


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TOKYO, JAPAN (April 25, 2019) – SoftBank Corp.’s HAPSMobile and Alphabet's Loon have shaped a long-term strategic relationship to upgrade the use of high altitude vehicles, such as balloons and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), to bring connectivity to more people, places, and things worldwide. As part of the new relationship and HAPSMobile’s financial and investment strategy, HAPSMobile has made a decision to invest $125 million USD in Loon. Loon has obtained the right to spend the same amount in HAPSMobile in the future. Additionally, to improve the relationship, the companies are actively exploring commercial collaborations to accelerate the deployment of high altitude network connectivity solutions, with a focus on expanding mobile internet penetration, allowing internet of things (IoT) applications, and helping in the deployment of 5G.


Specifically, the companies have moved into into formal negotiations on a number of areas of promising technical and commercial collaboration, including:


A wholesale business that would allow HAPSMobile to utilize Loon’s fully-functioning vehicle and technology. Likewise, Loon would be able to utilize HAPSMobile’s aircraft, which is currently in development, upon its completion.

A jointly developed communications payload that is flexible to multiple flight vehicles and various ITU compliant frequency bands.

A popular gateway or ground station that could be deployed globally and utilized by both Loon and HAPSMobile to offer connectivity over their respective platforms.

Adapting and optimizing Loon’s fleet management system and temporospatial SDN for use by HAPSMobile.

Creating an alliance to promote the use of high altitude communications solution with regulators and officials worldwide.

Enabling flight vehicles from each party to associate and share the same network connectivity in the air.

With the deployment of such technology, people will be reachable in areas where connectivity is lacking; such as mountainous terrain, remote islands, and developing countries.


Each company creates important and complementary strengths to the table. HAPSMobile, SoftBank’s subsidiary, is a joint venture with AeroVironment, Inc. HAPSMobile has completed its development of HAWK 30, its aircraft-type stratospheric telecommunications platform. SoftBank is one of Japan’s telecommunication carriers and has considerable experience in network planning, operations, and bringing connectivity solutions to the market.


Loon brings technical leadership through an present, fully-functioning high altitude vehicle and communications system that has therefore flown over 30 million kilometers and connected hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. In addition, Loon has nearly a decade of experience developing, launching, flying, and managing a high altitude platform.


High altitude network connectivity platforms operate in the stratosphere, which is above ground infrastructure, but below satellites, allowing fornear ubiquitous coverage that avoids ground clutter and significant latency issues. These advantages make such vehicles a promising solution for widening mobile coverage to those who need it as well as IoT and 5G use-cases. HAPSMobile and Loon, cooperating with strengths and technology from each party, seek to provide next generation global connectivity and revolutionize the world's mobile networks.

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