Advanced Television

Viasat: “Geo + Inmarsat can equal LEO”

February 9, 2023

In post-results comments to market analysts, Viasat’s chairman Mark Dankberg said the combination of its expanding ViaSat-3 ‘next generation’ satellites, plus the L-band services from Inmarsat (which it is in the process of acquiring) would equal the sort of rival satellite-based offerings from the likes of SpaceX/T-Mobile, Apple/Globalstar, Iridium/Qualcomm, Lynk Global and AST SpaceMobile. All of these businesses are offering or planning direct-to-device communications.

Dankberg said that of the many Inmarsat assets it was the London-based operator’s L-band frequencies that would be a principal asset for the combined businesses.

“We’ve been looking at (handset) design architectures that are both GEO and LEO. We think that should be able to deliver pretty comparable services. It will probably take cooperation among some of the spectrum holders to achieve that. We don’t think it’s necessarily a GEO or LEO-specific market,” stated Dankberg.

The Viasat acquisition of Inmarsat is currently waiting for the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to issue a clearance for the deal. News from the CMA is expected in March.

ViaSat-3/Americas is due to launch in April and services to commence in September 2023. ViaSat-3/EMEA is due to be launched around September. A third ViaSat-3 (for Asia) would follow.

Dankberg added that he remained confident that its new expanded broadband capacity would be filled over the upcoming 2-3 year period.

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