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Gogo says open-bar airline contract terms are ending, IFC consolidation is coming

PARIS — In-flight-connectivity (IFC) provider Gogo Inc. said the contract model it pioneered a decade ago is a lousy business it will no longer pursue, and that it would cease trying to lure airlines with open-bar terms that have sent much of the IFC sector into a tailspin. After two months of thinking about what survival looks like, Gogo said it would immediately put into place a series of...

FCC likes Intelsat-SES-Intel C-band-sharing idea, but maybe not its original version

PARIS — The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s decision to pursue proposals to open 500 MHz of now satellite-only C-band spectrum for future terrestrial wireless 5G had the now-predictable effect of causing a big jump in Intelsat and, to a lesser degree, SES stock. But comments of two FCC commissioners suggest that while the U.S. regulator looks favorably on the combined...

EchoStar abandons Inmarsat bid after Inmarsat rejection, but reserves right to return

  UPDATE: EchoStar let the July 6 deadline slip by without making a formal bid for Inmarsat, but said it could return to the table even before the six-month regulatory no-bid period if a third party were to go after Inmarsat or if Inmarsat’s management changed its mind about EchoStar’s offer. Here is EchoStar’s statement, issued about an hour before the 5 p.m. UK time deadline:...

Interview: Methera Global Communications CEO Chris McIntosh

SINGAPORE — At least a dozen satellite companies are pursuing the difficult-to-tap market of providing broadband access to the 4 billion people who don’t have it. Most are proposing to use hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit, or large geostationary-orbit satellites that each cover a third of the planet. Methera Global Communications of Britain, which has received initial design grants from...

When in Rome, be Roman: Hughes says India seems ready to OK private Ka-band broadband satellite

SINGAPORE — Broadband hardware and service provider Hughes Network Systems announced Jupiter System ground network contracts with Malaysia’s Mutiara Smart Sdn Bhd for government applications and commercial operator PT PSN of Indonesia. But the focus of attention, as ever, was on the big enchilada: India. Hughes has been in India since the mid-1990s and has sold some 275,000 enterprise VSAT...

SpaceX’s satellite broadband intentions are weaponized by competitors but still uncertain

PARIS — Three months after receiving U.S. FCC approval, which triggered a regulatory countdown, SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband constellation remains as much of a black box as ever. There has been no verifiable major development that would indicate the passage of milestones needed for a constellation of 4,425 400-kilogram satellites costing billions of dollars to field, beyond the February...

Hispasat tells suppliers the pricing downturn means it’s not replacing all its retiring satellites

PARIS — Two years ago, satellite fleet operator Hispasat struggled to close the business case for a new satellite network. Today, it’s having trouble justifying the the replacement of an aging in-orbit satellite that is mainly full. Such is the position of many fixed satellite services (FSS) fleet operators. Business expansion, once taken for granted, has become hazardous and even hanging on to...

SES tells new suppliers to scrap NRE charges in return for sharing upside

SINGAPORE — John-Paul Hemingway, the new chief executive of SES Networks, described the state of the market: “Incredible change… massive amounts of bandwidth rise, incredible price erosion and disruptive new players coming in to challenge how content is delivered, be it video or data… change in the use of both hardware and software.” That sounds about right. But he wasn’t talking about the...

Casbaa suggests that satellite sector reset its PR & showcase continued video strength

SINGAPORE — Satellite bandwidth pricing for data services is under huge pressure everywhere but for those fleet operators with an established video business the situation is more nuanced. Some are reporting big contract renewals at prices that are flat, which may mean down when accounting for inflation over the previous contract period. Others say prices remain firm, but that broadcasters insist...

Boeing Satellite Systems: ‘The GEO market is the industry’s bedrock, and it’s shifting’

SINGAPORE — The commercial telecommunications satellite market has been down so long and confounded so many industry experts that satellite builders no longer even try to predict a turnaround. The sort-of-good news is that the most cautious satellite fleet operator at some point must replenish its fleet, even if the idea of investing for growth may take a backseat. Manufacturers by now had hoped...

ABS CEO Simpson: We’re seeking partners — even with satellite builders — for 15 orbital slots

SINGAPORE — Jim Simpson joined Bermuda-based satellite fleet operator ABS earlier this year after a career selling launch services and both commercial and military satellites. Now he sells satellite capacity and, ultimately, ABS itself. ABS’s principal shareholder, the Permira private-equity group, put ABS on the market at least two years ago but was asking for prices deemed too high by...

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