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Bullish forecasts for Intelsat’s EPIC

Intelsat’s first ‘EPIC’ satellite (IS-29e) was only launched at the end of January, but CEO Stephen Spengler says it is already well on its way to filling up despite its multiple spot-beams and much larger overall capacity and throughput.

Spengler said the new craft entered commercial service at the end of March and initial experience demonstrated some downward pricing pressure of some 20 per cent from customers but higher-than-expected bandwidth volumes. The net result, he says, is a “minimal” drop in revenues.

Perhaps more importantly, Spengler added that Intelsat is now forecasting that its Epic fleet of satellites will be achieving fill rates of an impressive near-60 per cent within three years.

He explained that around 20-30 per cent of traffic on the new satellite was inherited from previous users of a now-retired craft. He said the gap between this transferred usage and the anticipated 60 per cent would come from new clients, notably in growth markets as well as the aircraft and maritime mobility sectors.

Spengler, speaking at a JP Morgan investor event, stated: “Maybe the pricing is a little bit lower than anticipated, but we still have solid returns.”

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