Photo shows Telenor Satellite Broadcasting’s Thor 7 satellite, set for launch late this year, in testing at Space Systems/Loral’s facility in Palo Alto, Calif. Credit: Space Systems/Loral

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway on May 7 reported flat revenue and slightly lower gross profit for the three months ending March 31 compared with the previous year and said it had leased capacity on Telesat’s Telstar 11N satellite to bolster its growing maritime services business.

Oslo-based Telenor, whose Thor 7 satellite is scheduled for launch late this year aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket, said the performance was in line with expectations. The company said maritime satellite communications, which is a key target for Thor 7 and its Ka-band antenna, is growing fast with a record number of virtual network operators (VNOs) offering satellite services for sea-based applications.

Telenor operates two satellites at 1 degree west longitude and shares capacity with Luxembourg- and Washington- based Intelsat on one of them. The company said its Thor 5 satellite at that location was now being used to offer more maritime communications in Europe.

Telenor is leasing capacity on the Telstar 11N, owned by Telesat of Canada, to offer maritime communications in Africa and the Caribbean, the company said, adding that the lease will continue after Thor 7’s launch.

Telenor is one of several satellite fleet operators that view maritime broadband connections through very small aperture terminals, or VSATs, as a growth market in the coming years. Intelsat is offering high-throughput service in Ku-band, while Telenor and maritime rival Inmarsat of London are deploying Ka-band capacity.

Telenor is using ground infrastructure technology from VT iDirect of Herndon, Virginia.

“Our iDirect VNO services are becoming increasingly popular,” the company said in a May 9 response to SpaceNews inquiries. “We have just started offering iDirect services on the Telstar 11N for satellite coverage of the Caribbean and Africa. Supported by our ground operations at Nittedal, Norway, [Telenor] is operating an 11-meter antenna to provide maritime services on our dedicated iDirect hub.”

Telenor said it plans to continue its maritime push both in Ku- and Ka-bands.

For the three months ending March 31, Telenor reported revenue of 238 million Norwegian kroner ($39.6 million), flat from a year ago, and an operating profit of 102 million kroner, up slightly from last year. EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was 66.3 percent of revenue, down from 67.5 percent a year ago.

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.