Inflight Connectivity May Come Direct to Airlines from Inmarsat

Inmarsat Satellite Communications Systems for Business AviationInmarsat, British satellite communications network is considering the possibility of becoming a direct provider of its integrated air-to-ground (ATG)-S band inflight connectivity service, soon to be launched in Europe. Currently, Inmarsat partners with resellers for its services.

Leo Mondale, Inmarsat president of aviation said, “Going direct is not a strategy or goal of ours per say, but we’re looking at a pretty dramatically changing environment when giant name brands in telecommunications are entering the business, and so there is much higher interest in adjacent markets like mobile communications to cause us to want to study the right way to go to the market.”

Although no fixed plans have been settled, Inmarsat are considering an industry sector that is consistently selling bundles, and following ViaSat’s decision to sell directly to airlines, partnering with Thales/LiveTV, the satellite giant is looking at the sector with a different set of eyes.

“We are actually just a connectivity provider,” says Mondale. We don’t build equipment, and we don’t want to sell content. Our bundle is multiple connectivity platforms, given to the right geography, irrespective of what type of aircraft or how big a fleet. That makes us different because we’re not saying ‘buy IFE and we’ll give you connectivity for free’. We say ‘you decide, and we want to give you the best connectivity.”

Inmarsat are in no hurry to make a decision, and are considering all their options. Current reseller partnerships will not be affected.

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