SoftBank's HAPSMobile and Alphabet's Loon have formed a long-term strategic relationship to advance the use of high altitude vehicles, such as balloons and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), to bring connectivity to more people, places, and things worldwide.
HAPSMobile is a joint venture between SoftBank and Aerovironment formed in December 2017. 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 invest the same amount in HAPSMobile in the future.
Furthermore, to strengthen 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, enabling internet of things (IoT) applications, and assisting in the deployment of 5G.
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 expanding mobile coverage to those who need it as well as IoT and 5G use-cases.