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SoftBank invests in Alphabet business for gsm-antennas in the air

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – SoftBank Corp subsidiary said on Wednesday it had invested $125 million in an Alphabet Inc company that is working to fly gsm antennas, high in the atmosphere to the internet in areas that are difficult to reach.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World in 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

SoftBank is HAPSMobile, who is also trying to fly networking equipment at high altitudes to provide high-speed internet to the areas which are outside the scope of the country of the towers, said it had invested in Wages, a unit of the Google-owner.

Pay, a spin-off of the Alphabet ‘ s business incubator in July, is wearing the gear with a long balloon, while HAPSMobile makes use of a drone. Both systems work on solar energy, the limit of the areas they can serve to the equatorial areas of the world.

Mobile network operators, governments, and other potential customers to show much enthusiasm for the purchase of such technologies, despite the close gaps in internet coverage in the rural areas or in times of natural disasters.

The two companies compete with each other with the billionaire entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, all of the backup separate companies which aim to provide internet links using satellites in orbit around the Earth.

Wages and HAPSMobile said at a Tokyo press conference on Wednesday that they had to work together to win over customers and talked about the parts of technology, the standardizing of the gearbox and the cooperation in the regulation talk.

The companies said in a joint statement that they had entered a “long-term” partnership.

“I am convinced that we can accelerate the path to the realization of the use of the stratosphere for global networks by pooling our technologies, insights and experience,” Junichi Miyakawa, SoftBank chief technology officer and HAPSMobile chief executive, said in the statement.

Miyakawa said HAPSMobile had a minority interest in Earnings at his request, and a right to observe meetings of the board. HAPSMobile not expected to fund additional companies in the same field, but was open to receive investments, ” he said.

HAPSMobile, which uses technology developed by dronemaker AeroVironment Inc., which is a 10 percent share in the Softbank unit, planned to test its drone in Lanai Airport in Hawaii, and was also discussing the run of tests in Australia, Miyakawa told Reuters.

The secure certificate of the aviation agencies could take up to three years, ” he said.

Loon, who has tested balloons for almost a decade, and she is expecting her first commercial process in Kenya by the middle of the year, has not ruled out raising additional funding, Chief Executive Alastair Westgarth said.

Reward is an option to invest $125 million in HAPSMobile for a minority interest in a later date.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Rosalba O’brien and Edmund Blair

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