Comment by Frost & Sullivan’s consultant, Lida Mantzavinou.

London – 29 July 2013 – Inmarsat’s successful on-schedule launch of the Alphasat, its geostationary communications satellite, on July 25th, entrenched its position as a top satellite communications provider in the mobile satellite services (MSS) market. The Alphasat is on time and to be followed by the Inmarsat-5s expected in the next two years; with the deployment of all three spacecraft constellation, Inmarsat will be able to offer the seamless global connectivity demanded by the aviation industry by 2015.

The Global Express (GX) is expected to revolutionise the aircraft connectivity market and the on-board passenger experience. Inmarsat’s likely coronation as the leading satcom provider for the aviation industry will owe a great deal to its strategic industry partnerships with iDirect for the ground segment, Honeywell for the network infrastructure, and its in-house capabilities that shaped the 3-channel GX TV and customised applications for the cockpit crew, the cabin crew and the passengers.

Through these astute business strategies, Inmarsat is strongly competing with other major participants. For instance, Iridium, which focuses on the safety aspects of the aviation industry, is still developing and constructing the Iridium Next satellites, which are expected to be launched in 2015. Meanwhile, Orbcomm has suffered the loss of all six of its most recently launched satellites and new launches are anticipated only in the next two years. The company is implementing an inorganic growth strategy with the acquisitions of StarTrak, GlobalTrak and MobileNet and is positioning itself as a provider of low-cost tracking, monitoring and messaging solutions. Another competitor, Globalstar, is in the process of finalising the configuration of its second-generation satellite constellation, which will be launched in 2013; however, it plans to replace only 24 of its original 48 satellites.
Although the market appears ripe for fresh investments, the high costs and difficulty associated with obtaining spectrum licences, building and launching a satellite, as well as the need for ground networks and long lead-times have been posing high barriers to entry. Intelsat, partnering with Panasonic Avionics Corporation, is aiming to gain market shares in the MSS market for the aviation industry.

Owing to its superior services, Inmarsat is an MSS provider of choice in the aviation industry. Being ahead of the market, the company is on its way to providing aircraft connectivity with global coverage, at larger capacities and lower prices by 2015.

Lida Mantzavinou is a Consultant for Aerospace, Defence & Security group at Frost & Sullivan. If you would like to speak to Ms. Mantzavinou directly, please contact Joanna Lewandowska, Corporate Communications, at Joanna.lewandowska@frost.com.

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