TAMPA, Fla. — Eutelsat said March 9 it has signed a multi-million euro deal to provide more satellite capacity to Intelsat, including from OneWeb’s low Earth orbit (LEO) network the French operator is acquiring.

The seven-year agreement will help Intelsat enhance connectivity services it already provides over Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific with its own fleet of satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO).

The contract expands a deal Eutelsat reached in 2019 with Gogo Commercial Aviation, the inflight connectivity provider Intelsat later acquired, for capacity on Eutelsat 10B that SpaceX launched in November. Eutelsat 10B is slated to enter service from GEO by the middle of 2023.

Eutelsat said the expanded agreement includes capacity from two more GEO satellites: Eutelsat 172B launched in 2017 and Flexsat that was recently ordered for services starting in 2026.

The agreement also includes LEO capacity that would enable Intelsat to provide integrated multi-orbit connectivity services “in the air, at sea, or on the ground,” Eutelsat and OneWeb executives said in a joint statement.

OneWeb’s network is currently only available in a handful of countries across the upper part of the northern hemisphere. The British broadband operator expects to provide global commercial services by early next year following a launch of satellites slated for later this month out of India.

Financial details about the capacity agreement were not disclosed.

Intelsat’s nimble growth strategy 

In August, Intelsat announced a global distribution deal with OneWeb for providing multi-orbit connectivity services to airlines. 

The GEO operator’s third-party capacity deals are part of a cost-saving growth strategy following its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early last year. 

This strategy also saw Intelsat order a satellite from 3D printing specialist Swissto12 in November that is one-tenth the size of a conventional GEO communications spacecraft.

For Eutelsat, their agreement underlines the value of its proposed combination with OneWeb and its push out of a declining broadcast business into high-growth connectivity markets. 

Eutelsat recently said it expects to complete its OneWeb acquisition in the second or third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

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...