Inmarsat Exec Talks Government Market Ahead of First GX Satellite Launch
[Via Satellite 12-04-13] A new era for MSS operator Inmarsat will officially begin this week when its first Global Xpress Satellite will likely launch this Sunday. Inmarsat and ILS confirmed the launch date on Dec. 2. The operator has been busy ahead of the launch of Global Xpress (GX), its new constellation of satellites. In late November, the operator announced the formalization of its partnership on Global Xpress with Boeing, officially, the first Value Added Reseller (VAR) for GX with a specific focus on military-Ka band services for customers within the United States government. The strengthened partnership enables Boeing to sell not only the military Ka beams but also the commercial Global Xpress services to the U.S. government market, which will be a key target for GX services even considering its current budget situation.
Peter Hadinger, president, Inmarsat Government Services admitted to Via Satellite that the U.S. government market has been “tough.”
“Our customers face considerable uncertainty in budgets while trying to meet ever more diverse global challenges with rapidly-expanding bandwidth requirements. We are committed to serving our customers through the re-adjustments that they are making,” he said. “Inmarsat is a diverse satellite services company; the U.S. government is not our only customer, and our buyers in this market can take comfort in the fact that we will be there serving them after their budget and program picture has stabilized. We are fortunate to have a number of new government-focused products, such as Global Xpress (wideband) and L-TAC (narrowband), coming to market now. These are designed to satisfy durable, unmet needs and help our government customers save money through consolidated single solutions that permit flexible interoperability between their own military asset core and globally available commercial augmentation.”
The GX fleet is on schedule to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014. It will offer a combination of seamless global coverage, with performance of up to 50 Mbps to mobile or fixed terminals. The constellation is comprised of three satellites, with a fourth built as a back up. All four satellites are built by Boeing, and will cost Inmarsat around $1.6 billion.
With the first GX satellite set to launch, next year is shaping up to be pivotal for the operator. “2014 will be a year of important transition for Inmarsat as we roll out GX, and enhance and expand our L-band services,” said Hadinger. “Our role is to do everything possible to maximize the value our customers derive from the satcom investments they’ve already made, while introducing them to new and even more cost-effective ways to address their growing requirements for reliable connectivity. In 12 months’ time, we look forward to seeing the completion of the GX constellation, bringing the very first commercial global wideband network into existence. I know that our U.S. government customers can hardly wait.”
Don’t miss the live webcast of the 84th ILS Proton launch carrying the Inmarsat 5 F1 satellite, brought to you by ViaSatellite.com. Join us on December 8 at 7:12a.m. EST (6:12 p.m. Baikonur).