Via Satellite

Intelsat Stokes Industry Fires with Surprise Intel Announcement

Editor's note for the November/December 2017 issue of Via Satellite

As we go to press on this edition of Via Satellite, the industry has been rocked by a major announcement by Intelsat and Intel, which sees the two companies submit a joint proposal in early October that would expand the use of 3700-4200 MHz C-band spectrum to terrestrial mobile services. In various discussions both on and off the record with major CEOs in satellite, it is clear there is far from universal support for what Intelsat has done. Spectrum is always a thorny issue for the satellite industry given the aggressive nature in which the wireless industry has targeted spectrum which has traditionally been the preserve of satellite. It will be interesting to see how this plays out; it is a very aggressive, proactive move from Intelsat, which appears to be doing this without backing from other operators in the industry. And that might be a slight understatement, to put it mildly.

In this edition of Via Satellite, we bring you a variety of stories looking at some key growth topics for the industry. I was delighted recently to do an in-depth interview with Sandy Lobenstein, vice president of connected services and product planning at Toyota Motor North America, who talked about Toyota’s plans in terms of its connected car initiatives and where satellite might fit into these plans. As we know, “connected car’ is one of the major hot topics for our industry right now.

We also talk to two major influencers within the satellite industry in this edition. We talk to Inmarsat’s CEO Rupert Pearce who gives a very bullish forecast about the operator’s plans to build its aviation business. And we talk to RSCC’s Director General Yuri Prokhorov about the company’s plans with the rise of LEO/MEO constellations.

We also look at NewSpace in the Middle East and Africa, to examine what impact this new start-up culture can have in a region that offers huge potential for our industry.

It has been interesting time with some great discussions taking place at various trade shows in the last few weeks. The Intelsat announcement will make sure these intense discussions won’t be slowing down any time soon.