Report: Satellite operators suffer declining transponder rates

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That the world’s major satellite operators are seeing their revenues under extreme pressure is not a surprise. That information emerges in each of their quarter-year financial reports.

However, analysts at Northern Sky Research (NSR) have analysed that data for 2020 and their report makes tough reading.

“At the start of 2021, the Global Satcom Industry finds itself enduring stunted growth due to bankruptcies and revenue declines across both satellite operator and service provider segments. NSR’s comprehensive SIFA10 report provides actionable insight into these key challenges facing the industry today,” says NSR.

NSR charts the decline. For example, Intelsat (now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reconstruction) has seen its typical transponder lease revenues collapse from more than $2000 in 2013 to barely $1500 in 2019.

For SES the decline is similar ($2000 in 2013 to just below $1500 in 2019). Eutelsat, suggests NSR, has seen rates decline from $1500 in 2013-2014 to just over $1000 in 2019.

“Essentially two options remain accessible to operators today: Either build a full-fledged services arm and integrate offerings; OR build VHTS/non-GEOs and lease in bulk to anchor tenants,” according to Gagan Agrawal.

Joseph Ibeh, the report’s co-author, says “Looking beyond the Covid-19 headwind, both In-Flight Communications and Maritime sectors are expected to rebound to a growth path on the back of mass vaccination. However, competition for market share will become much fiercer following the recapitalisation of insolvent operators and consolidation.”


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