Broadband satellite operator Viasat has already a solid client list for its connectivity, including private customers, businesses and airlines. In reporting its Q1/2022 numbers to (June 30), the company said that the gradual and fitful re-opening of the global economy is accelerating the momentum the company achieved in the later stages of FY/2021. “We anticipate that momentum to extend throughout FY/2022.”
Viasat reported record revenues for the quarter-year of $665 million (up 25 percent), which translated into a net income increase to $17 million from a $12 million loss in the same period a year earlier. the prior year. The company’s all-important contracted backlog is $2.2 billion, up $109 million on the previous year.
“At the segment level, Government Systems revenue increased 4 per cent YoY as growth broadened in several areas of our diverse portfolio – even in what is typically a softer quarter. Satellite Services revenue increased to $274 million, a 36 per cent increase YoY. Gains were driven by improving in-flight connectivity (IFC) service revenues as passengers return to air travel and continued top-line growth in our fixed broadband business,” stated the company. “In Commercial Networks we saw the top line expand sharply by 77 per cent YoY, totaling $119 million for the quarter. The main growth drivers were accelerating mobile terminal deliveries primarily in support of Delta Air Lines and their updated Wi-Fi service launch this year, as well as continued growth in our ground antenna systems business.”
Viasat says the number of aircraft in service and carrying its In-Flight Connectivity equipment is about 1,400 (out of 1,550 with its equipment installed) up 80 per cent YoY.
Importantly, Viasat delivered its new ViaSat-3 (Americas) payload to Boeing for final integration and testing. Viasat is continuing work on the second and third satellites in the new ViaSat-3 fleet.
“We believe ViaSat-3 will be transformational not just for Viasat but for the global broadband services market. In the intervening quarters we are focused on executing on our substantial backlog, and growing revenue and Adjusted EBITDA, while continuing to invest in unique and differentiated technologies, service offerings and new vertical and geographic markets. A vast opportunity for space-based connectivity is unfolding and we’re excited about what we can bring to a unique and diverse portfolio of applications, partners and customers,” stated the firm.
Viasat is guiding average annual growth of about 20 percent through FY2023.
The EchoStar team managed to avoid a humiliating forced ending of their plans for a global S-band service when a smallsat successfully “brought into use” a set of International Telecom Union (ITU) frequencies ahead of an August 10th ITU deadline.
This was the ‘third time lucky’ for EchoStar, given that two previous attempts to launch satellites into the S-band slot had failed on, or soon after, their launch. EchoStar, because of the smallsat, can now expand its S-band plans for voice and data services.
EchoStar in its financial results stated, “The nano-satellite was successfully commissioned and placed at the altitude prescribed in our license for the S-band frequency.”
The relief must be tangible, given that the ITU had already extended its previous April deadline to ‘bring into use’ services from the S-band orbital slot.
EchoStar’s Satellite Services president Anders Johnson is on record as having high-hopes for S-band activity and said that a successful launch of the smallsat would give EchoStar the “raw materials” needed for the development of a global service.
Back in 2013, EchoStar bought Solaris Mobile, initially owned by SES and Eutelsat, which was the springboard for this S-band activity. EchoStar now has worldwide S-band spectrum rights for use by LEO satellites.
A French high court has ruled against Eutelsat in its action against Inmarsat and Inmarsat’s hybrid satellite and terrestrial-based European Aviation Network (EAN). Eutelsat has had the action running since 2018 and objected to the use of terrestrial ground segment repeaters which it argued did not conform with Inmarsat’s S-band license from the European Commission.
The ruling, from France’s Conseil d’Etat follows on from a similar verdict from the European Court of Justice which also rejected Eutelsat’s action.
“Inmarsat welcomes the ruling in the Conseil d’Etat upholding the legality of the authorization granted in France to operate the European Aviation Network,” an Inmarsat spokesperson stated. “EAN is an asset for Europe as a whole and it is proving very popular with passengers and airlines.”
However, the suite of objections to Inmarsat’s EAN plans is not quite over yet — Viasat also has an action running in Italy, Belgium, Spain and Germany.
Malaysia’s damaged Measat-3 satellite, which suffered an anomaly back on June 21st, is to be retired and de-orbited.
The incident resulted in a complete outage of service and is still under investigation in partnership with Measat’s satellite provider, Boeing Satellite Systems. Despite maintaining continuous telemetry and command control of Measat-3, further testing and recovery efforts found that the satellite could not re-enter service. The satellite will be de-orbited in the following weeks.
Measat is currently finalizing the launch date of Measat-3d for early 2022, which is expected to restore its on-orbit satellite redundancy at the company’s key orbital hot-slot at 91.5°E, providing DTH, Broadcasting and Telecommunications services for the region, in addition to significantly enhancing broadband speed of up to 100 Mbps in areas with limited or without any terrestrial connectivity throughout Malaysia.
Measat-3 drifted from its designated orbital slot at 91.5 degrees East in a westerly direction. By July 10th, it had drifted to 86.4 degrees East and a couple of days later to 84.7 degrees East. Data on August 6th (at 0942 GMT) suggested it had drifted to 76 degrees East and moving at 0.677 degrees per day.