Mega-constellations: Merger discussions underway?
August 23, 2021
SES CEO Steve Collar, SES’s CEO in an interview on the topic of satellite industry merger activity, admitted that he was sure that “everyone’s talking to everyone”.
Collar added, in the interview carried by Bloomberg, that because Space is “essentially a fixed-cost industry, so the scale that’s generated from consolidation can be important financially. And obviously we’ve also seen some disruptors coming into the industry. That can also be a catalyst.”
Bloomberg also quoted recent comments from Mark Dankberg, Chairman of California-based Viasat which has a fast-growing interest in broadband-by-satellite, agreed that there is discussion in the industry about merger activity. “One of the reasons for consolidation would be to try to divert more capital funding from broadcast into broadband.”
Elon Musk’s Starlink is at an advanced stage of deploying its mega-constellation and is now talking about using its huge Starship to launch up to 400 satellites at a time.
But there are plenty of potential players which might like to ‘fast track’ their access to space, and minimising risk and investment commitments. London-based Inmarsat is but one, but there’s also low Earth orbit activity from Telesat in Canada, ViaSat as mentioned, the Bharti/UK/SoftBank-backed OneWeb, and a dozen other smaller would-be entrants to the orbital space race.