© Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

One of the best ways to get an edge on new emerging technologies is to compare two similar entities that are in the race to achieve the same objective, such as Starlink vs OneWeb. Their ultimate vision is to provide satellite Internet access to millions of people living in remote places.

In today’s age of Internet dependence, one needs a stable connection. This article will help you understand the two companies in depth, namely how they work and how they can help you solve your connectivity problems. We will also see how these two companies are different from each other when it comes to their vision and what sets them apart in this highly competitive market space.

OneWeb Starlink
OneWeb has ambitious plans to cover the whole planet with connectivity via a fleet of 648 satellites.SpaceX intends to construct a constellation of up to 30,000 low-Earth-orbit satellites.
OneWeb is a worldwide communication startup owned by SoftBank Group, created in 2012 by IT entrepreneur Greg Wyler.Starlink is a group of smaller satellites made by SpaceX, an American company led by Elon Musk.
OneWeb’s main goal is to serve the Internet of Things at lower frequencies while using satellite Internet to connect people all over the world.The objective is to develop a low-cost, satellite-based broadband network capable of offering high-speed Internet access to anyone on Earth.
As of the beginning of March 2020, 74 broadband satellites were part of the OneWeb constellation operating in low Earth orbit.As of March 2020, 358 satellites made up the Starlink constellation.

Starlink vs OneWeb: What’s the Difference?

Starlink and OneWeb are similar companies with a common vision. Both aim to provide satellite Internet access to people living in remote places. However, there are a lot of differences that make each company unique. Let’s have a look at them in more detail.

Speed & Latency: Starlink

Starlink vs Dish internet
Starlink is a project of SpaceX that provides satellite Internet access.

©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

Starlink’s Cloud-based service and hardware are designed to provide the fastest possible connection speed that can be linked to a specific node and the satellite. This provides high availability to users, as they can easily connect with the service and get access to their favorite websites.

Starlink has a latency of 20 to 40 ms for its satellite-based service. This provides fast downloads and other services that take a significant amount of time, such as voice and video calls. It also has a download speed of around 50-200 Mbps and an upload speed of between 5-10 Mbps.

Speed & Latency: OneWeb

OneWeb has a latency of around 70 ms. This is the time taken for the request and response to travel at the speed of light through space, from the user’s antenna to a constellation of hundreds of satellites at an altitude of 1200 kilometers. This can be reduced by having a shorter distance between the user and the satellite, as well as having multiple satellites in orbit.

The download speed can go up to 150 Mbps, and the upload speed can go up to 20 Mbps. However, the actual speeds will vary as the satellites are in a low-earth orbit.

Cost

Starlink is priced at $110 per month for unlimited data access at an upload speed of 50-200 Mbps and a download speed of between 5-10 Mbps. It allows users to subscribe to bundles of different plans, such as friend plans, family plans, and others. Starlink has more than 5 million potential customers worldwide, and over 300,000 people have already subscribed.

OneWeb has a cost of $12.95 per month for unlimited data at an upload speed of 30-70 Mbps and a download speed of up to 150 Mbps. OneWeb plan will allow users to get access anywhere in their home using Wi-Fi, as long as it is available. There are no set maximum speeds that users have to have. They can choose the one that they need.

Availability and Reliability

starlink vs oneweb
OneWeb aims to build broadband satellite Internet services.

©Moving Brands (digital agency we hired to create this logo), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Starlink has widespread availability and is highly dependable. It’s a broadband network that has been designed in such a way that it can provide Internet access to people living in remote areas. The company states that over 98% of the U.S. population is within reach of its broadband satellites.

The company claims to have enough bandwidth to provide continuous and reliable high-speed multi-gigabit (Gbps) Internet access to every corner of the Country.

OneWeb has limited availability and is not as reliable as Starlink. It has developed a network of satellites that will provide television, mobile, and Internet services to people living in remote areas.

The company claims that its satellite constellation can provide high-speed connectivity to every corner of the Country within a few years. Today, only 70 percent of the U.S. is covered by traditional terrestrial networks, while it plans to reach 95% within a few years.

Starlink vs OneWeb: Starlink’s Evolution

Initially, Elon Musk, the tech billionaire and CEO of SpaceX, had a different idea for providing satellite Internet. He envisioned having thousands of satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that could provide global connectivity to everyone.

However, in 2018 Elon Musk changed his mind and instead opted for launching a fleet of smaller satellites into higher orbits. Using these satellites as propellant tankers would be easier than designing them to refuel themselves at LEO.

Starlink’s idea is to deploy a fleet of low-cost satellites into LEO, replacing the constellation of large and expensive satellites that we have been using until now. In said plan, the Starlink constellation would be made up of thousands of satellites delivered and built by SpaceX.

Starlink vs OneWeb: History of OneWeb

OneWeb is the brainchild of Greg Wyler, who initially came up with the idea of satellite Internet in August 2012 and founded OneWeb, a company focused on providing global connectivity via a global satellite constellation. OneWeb has been in the industry for quite a while now.

It’s not just a startup but an established company backed by some of the biggest investors and companies. OneWeb is a joint venture between Qualcomm, Hughes Network Systems, Airbus Group, and Virgin Group. The company was officially launched in February 2015 and had successfully placed 34 satellites in orbit by March 2018.

Starlink vs OneWeb: Pros and Cons

Pros of StarlinkCons of Starlink
UbiquityCumbersome technology
Low-cost accessLots of maintenance
Faster Internet No major development since October 2018
Easy accessUnclear quality of service
Reduced space debris (satellites used as a substitute for ground stations)Speed depends on the location and strength of the signal
Pros of OneWebCons of OneWeb
CompatibilityThe technology is not as reliable as it may be in the future, given that it is a satellite-based network
Reliability (higher altitude and a lower number of satellites)Lower frequencies than those used in fiber optic cables
Lower cost of satellitesThe project is not fully developed
International coverage

Starlink vs OneWeb: 10 Must-Know Facts

  1. Starlink and OneWeb both seek to build their own satellites and provide high-speed Internet access to the planet.
  2. Starlink is a constellation of smaller mass-produced satellites built by SpaceX, the American aerospace giant led by visionary Elon Musk.
  3. OneWeb is a global communications company that plans to operate a fleet of 648 satellites to blanket the Earth.
  4. OneWeb is focused on servicing the IoT at lower frequencies.
  5. Starlink’s mission is to build a low-cost, satellite-based broadband network.
  6. OneWeb’s objectives are to connect people via high-speed and reliable LEO satellites and terrestrial networks.
  7. Starlink’s operational costs would be minimal, considering they are building the satellites internally.
  8. OneWeb’s operational costs would increase the more satellites the company launches.
  9. OneWeb’s current focus is on building a diverse satellite constellation.
  10. The OneWeb constellation will be a mix of NGSO and MEO satellites.

Starlink vs OneWeb: Which One Is Better?

While the competition between OneWeb and Starlink is fierce, OneWeb seems to be losing to SpaceX. The American firm has been leading the race with over 360 satellites in low-earth orbit. Meanwhile, OneWeb has been trying to make up for its recent cash crunch by selling off some of its assets. In addition, OneWeb has a patent for rearranging the constellation, which could significantly improve its performance.

With that said, Starlink seems to be the better option, as SpaceX has been raking in the money while OneWeb has been trying to save up for its next move. The future of this competition will be interesting to watch as SpaceX continues to make progress. Who knows, you might end up with either one of these providers for your satellite Internet access by the time the race is over.

NEXT UP…

Starlink vs OneWeb: How Do They Compare? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How does Starlink work?

Like other Internet access companies, it uses a variety of satellites to create a network. Each satellite sends and receives data using various frequency bands to cover the earth from a low-Earth orbit. The idea is to offer high-speed Internet access anywhere on Earth where you can point a small antenna at the sky.

How do OneWeb and Starlink differ?

Both SpaceX and OneWeb have similar missions, but the way they achieve this may be different. For example, OneWeb is primarily focused on servicing the Internet of Things (IoT) at somewhat lower frequencies.

What is the cost of satellite Internet access?

The cost of satellite Internet will be similar to that of fiber as it runs on the same frequency.

Is the pricing of satellite Internet different from that of the traditional Internet?

The price of traditional Internet is cheaper than that of satellite Internet. However, the use and accessibility of satellites are unlimited. You will not have to worry about running out of data or speed.

What advantages does satellite Internet have over other types of Internet?

Satellite Internet has different advantages in terms of speed, affordability, and security. The best thing about this is that you do not need a phone line to start.

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