Australian operator Telstra and satellite firm OneWeb have inked a deal aimed at delivering one of the world’s largest rollouts of low Earth orbit (LEO) backhaul for a commercial mobile network. Following a testing phase, the companies plan to migrate hundreds of existing remote mobile base stations that currently use satellite backhaul to OneWeb’s LEO solution this year.

The agreement will provide 25 Gbit/s connectivity to remote mobile customers across Australia. Telstra will leverage OneWeb LEO satellites for future sites where satellite backhaul is the best or only option available. Under the T25 commitment, the collaboration aspires to deliver an additional 100,000 square kilometers of mobile coverage by the end of 2025.

Nikos Katinakis, Telstra Group Executive, Global Networks and Technology, highlighted the service’s potential to “extend our options for our consumer, small business, and enterprise customers in hard-to-reach places across rural and regional Australia.” He elaborated on the plan to use OneWeb’s service as a backhaul medium for remote mobile base stations, with the potential to deliver voice and fixed broadband services to regional Australia.

David Thorn, Vice President, APAC at OneWeb, lauded the partnership as a significant milestone for the company in terms of scale and integration. With over 630 satellites in orbit, OneWeb is on track to achieve global coverage by the end of the year. Its services are expected to become available in Australia this year, with worldwide service slated to launch early next year.

Given Australia’s vast stretches of land and remote areas, the country has long been a solid use case for satellite connectivity. OneWeb is also targeting oceanic expanses, recently partnering with VAR Speedcast and German shipping company F. Laeisz to launch a connectivity service for ships in a trial involving a polar research vessel.