An antenna in Lagos, Nigeria, a key growth market for U.K.-based Avanti Communications. Credit: Avanti Communications

TAMPA, Fla. — Avanti Communications is in talks to procure capacity from a low Earth orbit (LEO) operator to transform into a provider of multi-orbit broadband services, the British regional geostationary satellite operator announced Nov. 10.

Kyle Whitehill, Avanti’s CEO, told SpaceNews the company is in the final contractual stages of a deal he expects to announce in coming months that would expand its presence worldwide.

“Our new global positioning means we will have the ability to provide coverage worldwide,” Whitehill said, “we will be led by the needs of our customers.”

Avanti has a fleet of five geostationary satellites, giving it Ka-band broadband coverage across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Instead of investing in new satellites to contribute to a glut of capacity coming to the market, Whitehill said Avanti is now prioritizing strategic partnerships where it can add value by bringing in services that manage this capacity.

Africa has been a key focus for the company as it seeks to expand across areas that are challenging for connectivity providers, partly because of low average revenue per user. 

Avanti is currently deploying managed services in South Africa and Nigeria, Whitehill said, and the deal with the undisclosed LEO operator would see the company offer these services to customers worldwide.

Customers would get an integrated connectivity service with more network management for their needs, he said, while the LEO operator would benefit from Avanti’s distribution, local market knowledge, customer relationships, and on-the-ground managed service delivery capabilities.

The strategy shift comes after Avanti adjusted its business in 2019 to move away from consumer broadband to focus more on cellular backhaul, governments, and selling capacity to other satellite operators.

Avanti did not disclose other details about negotiations with what it said was a leading LEO operator.

Whitehill said Avanti aims to bring multi-orbit services into use next year, suggesting SpaceX’s Starlink or OneWeb is the LEO operator as other broadband constellations in development are years away from global commercial service.

Starlink’s sprawling network has been seen as a mounting threat for regional geostationary players, and others have also expressed a willingness to partner in LEO to meet soaring demand for connectivity. 

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...