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LeoSat wins debut customer

LeoSat Enterprises is the satellite operator building a constellation of up to 108 low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. France-based Thales has completed its constellation design and is working with LeoSat on the design and construction plans for the first satellites.

LeoSat says it has secured its first customer even though the launch of the system is some 4 years away. The focus of the client is ultra-high speed trading, where nano-seconds count between stock and commodity trades.

LeoSat is a $3.5 billion scheme, and is in discussion with strategic investors to raise $100 million to see production start. The company wants the first batch of 84 of its satellite to be launched in 2019, and to begin service in 2020. CEO is Mark Rigolle who had a similar position at O3b, and was also CFO at SES.

While not naming the new client, or the value of the business, LeoSat’s CCO, Ronald van der Breggen, says: “In addition to [the order] being proof of our claim to be a game changer in the satellite communication industry, we take this customer contract as a very strong endorsement of our plans to offer global, low-latency, high-throughput satellite capacity, using a Low Earth Orbit constellation. With the highest performance offered by any existing or planned system, including fiber, we are already seeing a high level of interest from the finance, enterprise, government and energy sectors. It is encouraging to see that customers recognize we are beating fiber at their own game and they are quick to take advantage of that.”

LeoSat’s key advantage is the low latency the system will offer. The Washington DC-based company says it will be able to supply connectivity with an average latency of just 93 milliseconds between London and Tokyo, which is fibre-like in terms of speed. LeoSat say the same latency of terrestrial fibre would be nearer 250 milliseconds.

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