Viasat Inc., a global communications company, Russian satellite operator Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) and Russian telecom operator TMC LLC (TMC) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to advance in-flight connectivity (IFC) for airlines flying into and over Russia.
Russia is a key region for in-flight communications, comprised of 11 time zones, and providing, among other things, the shortest flight routes between North America and Asia, as well as between Europe and Asia. Per the MOU, the three companies will work in partnership to provide Russian and international airlines IFC service when flying into and over Russian Federation airspace. This cooperation is expected to offer Viasat’s global airline customers roaming connectivity when flying over Russia; providing IFC services on domestic flights within Russia; and enabling Russian and international airlines access to roam onto the Viasat global satellite network when outside of Russian airspace.
The MOU establishes an initial roaming agreement between current Viasat and GSS satellites, with Viasat operating in Russia leveraging TMC’s telecom license. The partnership commenced with Viasat procuring access to Ku-band capacity on the GSS satellite, Yamal-401, while creating a path for Viasat and GSS to leverage capabilities on future satellite constellations.
Keven Lippert, chief commercial officer at Viasat, commented, “Our MOU with GSS and TMC is an important next step in establishing a global IFC roaming alliance that will ensure airlines have access to uninterrupted, feature-rich IFC services when flying into and over Russia. We look forward to achieving strong synergies across satellite platforms in order to advance the global IFC market.”
Dmitry Sevastiyanov, general director at GSS, added, “The MOU execution is a testament that GSS’ orbital and ground assets will be an important part of the growing global satellite-based aviation services market. We are excited to cooperate with Viasat, an established company in the satellite-based mobility sector, and leverage the local telecom operations experience that TMC brings—as it opens up new long-term opportunities for GSS to expand satellite capacity across new mobile applications and markets.”
Alexey Bulkin, general director at TMC, noted, “We expect the MOU between Viasat, GSS and TMC will greatly contribute to the integration of the Russian air transportation industry into the united global aviation market. We believe the timing couldn’t be better given Russia’s increased development and production in civil aircraft for both domestic and international markets; the ongoing digital transformation of the economy; and the increased global interest in high-speed, high-quality IFC for domestic flights and international overflights over Russia.”
Each company will maintain its own intellectual property and will operate its equipment using a secure, multi-layered approach to network services. This non-binding MOU initially covers IFC services, but could extend into other mobility or emerging markets within Russia.
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 and governments 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.
About Gazprom Space Systems
Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) is a Russian satellite operator providing capacity in Russia and CIS, Europe, Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Pacific Ocean. GSS has developed and operates the Yamal satellite communication system and provides telecommunication and geo-information services. The Yamal satellite communication system includes: orbital satellite constellation: Yamal-202, Yamal-300K (183°E), Yamal-402 (55°E), Yamal-401 (90°E) and Yamal-601 (49°E). It has a ground control complex and telecommunication center with networks operating across Russian regions.
TMC is a Russian limited liability company, which includes persons with extensive experience in the field of telecommunications and satellite engineering in the Russian Federation. TMC is the holder of all necessary licenses and approvals to operate Ku-band data transmission and telematic communication services utilizing the GSS Yamal-401 satellite, soon extending to Ka-band on GSS Yamal-601 and beyond. TMC is a fully-licensed Russian Network Operator in compliance with the required Russian regulatory framework.
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 regarding the parties’ expectations regarding the terms and potential benefits of the MOU or the proposed definitive agreements between Viasat, GSS and TMC; the parties’ expectations regarding the satellite-based aviation market in the Russian Federation; and the future rollout and growth of IFC and other mobility services and access to roaming in the Russian Federation. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: the ability and willingness of the parties to enter into binding, definitive documentation with respect to the roaming, IFC and other agreements contemplated by the MOU and the terms of any such definitive documentation; the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of the MOU or any such definitive documentation; risks associated with the construction, launch and operation of satellites, including the effect of any anomaly, operational failure or degradation in satellite performance; general economic, financial, legal, political and business conditions and changes in domestic and foreign markets; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, suppliers, consumers, customers, and employees or the overall economy; reduced demand for products and services as a result of continued constraints on capital spending by customers; changes in relationships with, or the financial condition of, key customers or suppliers; the effect of adverse regulatory changes; introduction of new technologies and other factors affecting the communications and aviation industries 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.
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