WASHINGTON — French fleet operator Eutelsat finished a lengthy 302 million euro ($372.9 million) sale of its stake in Spanish fleet operator Hispasat after gaining long-awaited approval from Spain’s government.
Eutelsat’s decision to scrap an investment in Viasat’s ViaSat-3 system in favor of a fully-owned satellite means the two companies will now be competitors in the European broadband market — a stance analysts view as bad for both operators.
Global fleet operator Eutelsat, after months of protracted negotiations with partner Viasat, on April 5 said it would go it alone on a powerful new satellite instead of investing in Viasat’s second ViaSat-3 satellite.
A Belgian court reversed approval for Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network in the country after fleet operator Viasat challenged the legality of its authorization.
“We can put a satellite phone in the hands of folks who don’t know how to use it and it won’t make a hill of beans difference,” said Ken Flowers, Iridium Communications vice president government.
In a surprise shift, Eutelsat Communications, a staunch defender of geostationary satellites as the way forward, on March 8 said it is buying a low Earth orbit (LEO) demonstration nanosatellite.
Eutelsat Chief Executive Officer Rodolphe Belmer is taking a contrary view on short-term capacity leases and the explosive growth of video streaming — two disruptive video trends causing angst among satellite operators with substantial television broadcast business.
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Satellite fleet operator SES, the industry partner whose support Intelsat and Intel need the most for their proposal to open C-band the U.S. has designated for satellites to 5G wireless networks hungry for more spectrum, is willing to go along with the plan, but with one major caveat: not the whole band.
Delays with Yahsat’s Al Yah 3 satellite, now more than a year past its initial launch target, have forced Eutelsat Communications to hold off on expanding its Konnect Africa broadband business until next year.
Abertis, a Spanish firm best known for managing toll roads in Europe and South America, is awaiting government approval to expand its ownership in Hispasat of by buying Eutelsat’s 33.7 percent stake in the Madrid-based satellite fleet operator.
The $75 million purchase fits what Eutelsat described as a “broader strategy of streamlining distribution within selected core video neighbourhoods where it can create value,” according to an Oct. 13 statement.
Eutelsat’s newest satellite reached its target position in the geostationary orbit this week only four months after its launch, setting an industry record for the fastest all electric orbit-raising.
One year after giving a whiplash-inducing revision to revenue forecasts from growth to contraction, French satellite operator Eutelsat hit the markers it set out for a return to growth by 2019.
ViaSat, Eutelsat and Panasonic are seeking an injunction from the European Court of Justice to block Inmarsat from offering those services with its new Inmarsat S EAN satellite launched last week.