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Intelsat, Kymeta seeking mobile mass market

The investment announced by Intelsat on March 7th with speciality antenna maker Kymeta is a significant move for Intelsat.

Intelsat has given no specifics on the value of the investment, but CEO Stephen Spengler says it reflects the on-going relationship that’s been in place for a couple of years with Kymeta. Kymeta is privately held and so does not have to supply details.

The Kymeta agreement sees Intelsat using its capacity to supply bandwidth to vehicles, trains, aircraft, ships and agricultural vehicles for Kymeta’s KĀLO-branded system. KĀLO, in its statement, says it redefines satellite connectivity with services purchased in familiar, flexible data packages combined with radical pay-for-what-you-use pricing.

Intelsat will initially use its own satellites, in particular its ‘Epic’ series of orbiting craft, but as and when OneWeb comes into service, will use OneWeb capacity.

Currently, the Kymeta antenna measures some 60cm across so is not suitable for private cars, but the intention is to reduce this significantly down to 20cm or so.

Nathan Kundtz, founder and CEO of Kymeta says there will be a commercial release of his product in May, and service will start in Q3.

Spengler says that private cars are an important mass market, and that the service  can handle both geostationary satelites and LEOs. Intelsat has an agreement pending with OneWeb which wants a constellation of some 2,000 low Earth orbiting satellites, which not only will have minimum latency in connecting with vehicles but will also handle the ‘concrete canyons’ that make satellite reception difficult for vehicles.

Kundtz says that its vehicle modems will use 12 volt vehicle power. The system has already been validated by Toyota on tests last year, although Beta testing is continuing.

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