Viasat Inc., a global communications company, and China Satellite Communications Co., Ltd. (China Satcom), today announced an agreement for a strategic partnership to jointly provide in-flight connectivity (IFC) services within China for domestic and international airlines.
Viasat and China Satcom will work in partnership to enable Viasat’s global airline customers to have roaming connectivity when flying over China; provide IFC service to domestic flights within China; and enable Chinese airlines to roam onto Viasat’s global network. China Satcom is a licensed telecommunications service provider in China and also owns and operates the most capable and extensive Ka-band spotbeam satellite system in China, which is the only Ka-band system currently available for IFC service in the country.
A key international destination for leading global airlines, China is the second largest aviation market in the world according to research from the International Air Transport Association. As one of the fastest growing flying populations globally, and one of the most mobile and digitally-enabled, there is tremendous national interest in high-speed, high-quality IFC on flights in country. Yet today only about four percent of flights within China are connected.
“Our agreement with China Satcom is a significant step towards realizing a seamless global community of high performance IFC. China Satcom is now the only satellite operator and licensed service provider in China with the bandwidth resources to deliver the in-flight experience our airline customers have come to expect and depend on,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat. “Our partnership is a natural way to extend state-of-the-art services specific to China Satcom’s fleet and the China domestic market, and create a global roaming alliance for our existing and new domestic and international customers and the rapidly growing Chinese global commercial airline fleet. We are honored to work with China Satcom in China to make IFC-at-scale a reality.”
Viasat and China Satcom will jointly develop and share in future China-based IFC business.
- Viasat will deliver and support its award-winning IFC equipment to airlines tailored for use on the China Satcom network. Today approximately 2,000 global aircraft are already served by, or planned for use on Viasat’s ViaSat-1 and KA-SAT satellites, as well as compatible satellites operating in Australia, Brazil, and other cooperating regional and global markets.
- China Satcom will leverage its telecommunications service provider business license, operating expertise, and existing ground infrastructure to lead delivery of advanced IFC services to the airlines. China Satcom’s growing Ka-band fleet includes the already operational ChinaSat-16 satellite as well as ChinaSat-18, planned for launch later in 2019.
Per the terms of the agreement, each company will maintain its own intellectual property and will operate its equipment using a multi-layered approach to network services. This agreement specifically covers commercial aviation IFC, but could extend into the development of new connectivity applications for other ancillary markets in China. Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.
Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. For more than 30 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, the Company is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people’s lives anywhere they are—on the ground, in the air or at sea.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements include statements that refer to the overall agreement between Viasat and China Satcom inclusive of in-country China IFC and all roaming agreements; Viasat’s delivery of IFC equipment and services; the sharing of revenues; a seamless global alliance; the launch of ChinaSat-18; and the opportunity to expand the agreement into other applications. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: contractual problems, product defects, manufacturing issues or delays, regulatory issues, technologies not being developed according to anticipated schedules, or that do not perform according to expectations, and increased competition and other factors affecting the aviation sector generally. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in Viasat’s SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including Viasat’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. Viasat undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.
Featured image credited to istock.com/JakeOlimb