Viasat acquires $7.3bn Inmarsat to create space-based broadband giant
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Credit: Viasat

US telecoms giant Viasat has announced the acquisition of the UK’s Inmarsat for $7.3 billion in a move it claims will “massively boost” its global broadband and narrowband networks in terms of number of satellites and available spectrum.

The cash and equity deal will see the two companies combine terrestrial and satellite assets to achieve higher speeds. Viasast said it would use its enhanced network to target “high demand locations like airports and shipping hubs”.

The deal is expected to complete in 2022 following regulatory approval, after which Viasat will operate 19 satellites across the Ka, L, and S-bands, with 10 additional spacecraft set for deployment in the next three years.

Viasat said the deal was the next step towards creating one of the world’s largest space-based broadband providers, alongside the likes of Elon Musk’s Starlink constellation, the UK government-backed OneWeb and Boeing, who recently announced plans to launch satellites that will provide internet services from space.

Having acquired Inmarsat from private equity owners Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus, Viasat will be able to boast global Ka-band coverage, including polar regions, following the launches of new highly elliptical orbit communications satellites.

Viasat executive chair Mark Dankberg said: “The unique fusion of teams, technologies and resources provides the ingredients and scale needed for profitable growth through the creation and delivery of innovative broadband and IoT services in new and existing fast-growing segments and geographies.

“Inmarsat’s dual-band global mobile network, unique L-band resources, skills and capabilities in the U.K. and excellent technical and operational talent worldwide, are powerful complements to Viasat’s business.”

Inmarsat launched under its current ownership in 2014 and provides telephone and data services to users worldwide via portable or mobile terminals which communicate with ground stations through fourteen geostationary telecommunications satellites

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