Inmarsat CEO expects further consolidation
January 23, 2023
By Chris Forrester
In an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper, Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat CEO, predicted that only a handful of satellite operators will succeed and survive over the next 7 to 10 years. He said that it takes billions to get satellites into space and the industry has already seen plenty of bankruptcies, noting: “The industry structure that exists today is not viable.”
Inmarsat itself is in the process of being acquired by California-based Viasat provided the deal is approved by the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority which is investigating the competition aspects. The deal was announced back in November 2021. The EU, which is also looking at the acquisition, is likely to issue its verdict in February.
However, Suri says he is anxious that if the Viasat deal is blocked by regulators then the market will be left open for Musk’s Starlink and Jeff Bezos Project Kuiper to dominate the planet’s satellite broadband services.
Inmarsat is concerned because even though it has an excellent position in aircraft and maritime communications it wants to launch its own Low Earth orbiting constellation (‘Orchestra’). Suri says that the project is not yet fully funded.
Suri added that the satellite industry is getting more crowded in an already crowded sector. The answer, he says, is further consolidation.