OneWeb and Intelsat have signed a global distribution agreement to offer a multi-orbit in-flight connectivity (IFC) service combining Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellite capacity. The companies announced the agreement Thursday and expect it to be in service by 2024.
Under the agreement, Intelsat will distribute OneWeb capacity coupled with its service. Intelsat said this will fill gaps in IFC coverage and capacity at airport hubs, across oceans, and over polar routes.
“This level of connectivity will enable airlines to maximize brand affiliation with passengers through all their onboard services – delivering a truly connected end-to-end passenger journey,” said Jeff Sare, Intelsat’s new president Commercial Aviation. “The hybrid service offering further allows the global airline community to plan their suite of next-generation onboard services with confidence – not only ensuring a future-proofed passenger inflight connectivity experience, but also the implementation of a connected airline digitalization strategy.”
Ben Griffin, OneWeb vice president of Mobility Services, called the deal a “watershed moment” for the IFC market and said the partnership delivers the highest value for the lowest risk.
This partnership comes after Intelsat announced a new IFC solution in June, with a new multi-orbit capable, electronically steered array terminal to offer increased flexibility to its airline customers.
OneWeb is in the midst of a deal to combine with operator Eutelsat.