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Orange Signs with SES for Skala Maritime Satellite Service

By Jeffrey Hill | August 3, 2021
Orange engineer installs network equipment on board.

Orange engineer installs network equipment on board. Photo: Orange Business Services.

Satellite operator SES just scored a significant contract expansion with one of its biggest telco customers. The operator announced Tuesday that Orange has signed a new agreement to create an integrated connectivity platform for its maritime customers using Geostationary (GEO) satellite capacity provided by SES Networks’ Skala global platform.

Orange International Networks Executive Vice President Jean-Luc Vuillemin said that combining SES Skala with their existing infrastructure will allow their maritime customers to implement new IoT, AI, edge and cloud applications at sea.

“With the commercial maritime sector seeking global and high-quality connectivity as it enters the next stage of digitalization to implement more AI and other automated technologies, expanding our partnership with SES is fitting as we will be opening the door to more exciting innovations for our maritime customers,” said Orange International Networks Executive Vice President Jean-Luc Vuillemin.

This agreement adds GEO maritime service to the existing portfolio of services that SES Networks provides to Orange under existing contracts. Orange has already tapped SES Networks for Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) service from its O3b satellite constellation, as well as GEO services to deploy cellular services across remote areas of Africa.

Orange was also the first network operator to sign up for services from SES’ O3b mPOWER MEO system, which will become commercially available in the second half of 2022.

“We have been working closely together with the Orange Group the last couple of years to provide high-performance connectivity services worldwide to their customers in many different industries,” SES Networks CEO John-Paul Hemingway said in the contract announcement. “Now collaborating together on our Skala Global Platform, SES will deliver new levels of connectivity, creating seamless, reliable global coverage for those in the maritime industry. Our flexible bandwidth solution removes any barriers that might be holding shipowners back from realizing the full value when it comes to their digital investments.”

In addition to Orange, SES’ Skala platform serves other maritime telecom networks, including Tototheo Maritime, a Cyprus-based company that signed a five-year deal with the operator in January, and Dutch maritime navigation company De Boer Marine, which purchased Skala managed data services from SES in April 2020.