A relatively strong U.S. dollar helped Intelsat hold onto the No. 1 spot in the annual FSS rankings this year even as late-launching satellites delayed revenue growth at the company.
The company is in the midst of a 10-satellite capital spending program whose last two spacecraft are part of an apparently new business push that Intelsat calls Epic. The two Epic satellites, to be ordered in the coming months, will provide much higher throughput speeds in C- and Ku-band, as well as some Ka-band services, according to Intelsat.
Intelsat has been spare with Epic details in part because the company is in a quiet period in the run-up to its planned $1.75 billion stock market introduction.
The story Intelsat needs to tell prospective investors is one of growth. The company’s response has been to place the accent on mobile satellite services in Ku-band for the maritime and aeronautical markets.
Intelsat is also drawing investor attention to the fact that it has a large stable of unused orbital slots that could be developed by the company or sold to other operators.
Under International Telecommunication Union regulations, these orbital positions must be developed or forfeited, an incentive for Intelsat to move one way or another to monetize these assets.
Intelsat has been perhaps the most aggressive of the established fleet operators in promoting the idea that governments should place small payloads on commercial telecommunications satellites that would be developed and launched anyway.
It remains unclear how far and how fast the U.S. government will move in the so-called hosted payload area. Intelsat’s IS-27 commercial telecom satellite carries a UHF-band payload included in anticipation of U.S. Defense Department demand. The satellite, scheduled for launch by early 2013, is still waiting for a UHF customer.
The List: Top Fixed Satellite Service Operators
Top FSS Operators: No. 3, Eutelsat
Top FSS Operators: No. 4, Telesat