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Gilat: Constellations will force satellite focus on 5G; pitching dual Ku/Ka terminals in China

PARIS — Satellite ground antenna and terminal builder Gilat Satellite Networks said it is maintaining high R&D spending levels in 2018 to pivot its product line to very-high-throughput satellites (VHTS), the likely arrival of satellite mega-constellations in low orbit and an electronically steered ground-user antenna that will be key to the constellations’ success. In a May 15 conference...

Intelsat on U.S. government demand, why fiber & Ku can’t replace C-band, & satellite refueling

Intelsat Chief Executive Stephen Spengler. Credit: Intelsat   PARIS — Intelsat Chief Executive Stephen Spengler on May 17 said indications are that the U.S. government, primarily the Defense Department, is renewing its commercial satellite contracts at better-than-expected volumes and prices. Spengler’s comments echoed those of Eutelsat Chief Executive Rodolphe Belmer, who on May 14 said the...

Global Eagle: Satellite per-MB cost down 60% since 2016; promises 25% EBITDA growth in 2018

PARIS — Aero/maritime entertainment and connectivity provider Global Eagle promised investors a 10-15% cut in operating costs, reduced capex and an increase of 25% or more in its adjusted EBITDA for 2018 compared to 2017. The company said it would resist the temptation of signing up airlines under lousy contract terms — a trend that has made in-flight connectivity a symbol of bad business across...

Eutelsat on refusing ViaSat broadband deal: Breaking up is hard to do, but has advantages

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat on May 14 gave a detailed explanation for why it’s turning away from a partnership with ViaSat Inc. on a ViaSat-provided terabit-per-second ViaSat-3 satellite over Europe. But it left several questions unanswered. Eutelsat Chief Executive Rodolphe Belmer said the company’s decision to order the 500-Gbps Konnect VHTS satellite from Thales Alenia Space of...

First from the ground, now from the air: Inmarsat EU aero WiFi confronts Ukraine air-defense radar

PARIS— Mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat, whose nascent in-flight-WiFi business has savaged its stock price and caused shareholders to reject the latest management-compensation package, is facing a new challenge in Europe in the form of signal interference from Ukrainian air-defense radars, government and industry officials said. The issue concerns Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network...

EchoStar’s Hughes: Satellite broadband subs & profit up, churn down. EchoStar’s M&A: Still looking

PARIS — The market’s interest in EchoStar Corp. in the past year or two has been centered on two things: How’s the Hughes Network Systems satellite consumer broadband business doing, and how’s the search going for a satellite-sector acquisition target for your $3.3 billion in cash? In its first-quarter earnings call, the company answered: Very well indeed, to the first question. To the second,...

Dish/EchoStar/Hughes chief Ergen on FCC C-band debate, and satellite’s role in IoT deployment

PARIS — Dish Network Corp., which has spent $21 billion amassing wireless spectrum at U.S. government auctions and from bankrupt mobile satellite services companies, on May 8 confirmed that satellite connectivity will be a piece of its 5G Internet of Things (IOT) network. The company, whose lead shareholder, Charles W. Ergen, is also owner of EchoStar Corp. and EchoStar’s Hughes Network Systems,...

KVH says demand for bundled maritime connectivity subscription is huge; Inmarsat vows to fight back

PARIS — Maritime satellite-connectivity and content provider KVH Industries on May 4 said its satellite “connectivity as a service” subscription package had resulted in record bookings that had not yet translated the into reported subscription revenue. The company said that despite lack of demonstrable revenue impact, KVH’s product and service offerings are winning over market share. Competitor...

New Gogo CEO promises back-to-basics on 2Ku de-icing issue, contract profit, supply management

UPDATE May 9: Gogo’s stock was down 35% after continued selling on May 8 as investors digested the implications of the company’s May 4 conference call and a Moody’s downgrade of Gogo’s debt. Moody’s noted the company’s 12.9x leverage, the competitive IFC environment and the likely negative free cash flow “into at least 2019” as it rolls out IFC to...

Telesat says it will oppose SES-Intelsat C-band proposal unless it can join consortium running it

UPDATE May 4: Intelsat and SES, informed of Telesat’s comments, said in separate statements that they don’t know what Telesat’s issue is on the C-band consortium. They reaffirmed is open to all C-band stakeholders, and specifically to Telesat. PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Telesat on May 3 said it would oppose a plan by Intelsat and SES to decide among themselves how to...

India’s in-flight-WiFi regulations: ISRO wins, TRAI and foreign satellite operators take a hit

PARIS — The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has apparently won the latest battle over opening India’s telecom market by assuring that it will retain its gatekeeper role in new regulations on satellite-based in-flight connectivity, industry officials said. India’s Telecom Commission on May 1 adopted recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which called for...

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