Viasat’s Antenna Woes: Plans for Inflight Wi-Fi by Mid-2024 Despite Satellite Setback

Following Viasat’s recent disclosure of an antenna deployment failure which substantially reduced the capacity of their ViaSat-3 F1 satellite, the company has adapted its strategy to continue the expansion of its Wi-Fi services for aircraft. In a mid-year update, CEO Mark Dankberg confirmed that while the satellite operates at reduced capacity, it has achieved significant test speeds and is on course to begin commercial operations in the second quarter of 2024.

Having pinpointed the issues with the first in a planned trio of powerful geostationary satellites, Viasat is moving forward with corrective measures for the second satellite, ViaSat-3 F2, and maintaining course for the launch of ViaSat-3 F3 with a different antenna design. This final satellite is expected to launch in late 2024, helping execute the company’s vision for global coverage.

Despite setbacks, Viasat has successfully claimed a substantial part of a $421 million insurance policy for the affected satellite and is also navigating a separate claim for the Inmarsat-6 F2 satellite. Additionally, Viasat is considering the procurement of a replacement satellite following the Inmarsat-6 F2 incident.

The demand for inflight Wi-Fi has bolstered Viasat’s revenues, showing a 73% surge, due largely to the rise in commercial inflight connectivity service subscriptions. With more than 3,500 aircraft equipped and over 1,400 in the queue, Viasat demonstrates resilience amid challenges and commitment to providing quality connectivity services to its growing customer base. However, financial pressures persist as the company reported a net loss of $124 million for the quarter, attributed to integration costs and increased interest expenses from its acquisition of British operator Inmarsat.

FAQ Section

What recent issues has Viasat disclosed?
Viasat recently disclosed an antenna deployment failure on the ViaSat-3 F1 satellite, which resulted in a significant reduction of the satellite’s capacity.

What are the implications of the ViaSat-3 F1 satellite’s reduced capacity?
The reduced capacity impacts the intended expansion of Viasat’s Wi-Fi services for aircraft, but the satellite has still managed to achieve notable test speeds and is expected to begin commercial operations in the second quarter of 2024.

What steps is Viasat taking following the failure of ViaSat-3 F1?
Viasat is implementing corrective measures for its second satellite, the ViaSat-3 F2, and plans to launch the ViaSat-3 F3 with a different antenna design to complete its vision for global coverage.

When are the ViaSat-3 F2 and ViaSat-3 F3 satellites expected to launch?
The ViaSat-3 F2 corrective measures are underway, and the ViaSat-3 F3, with a revised antenna design, is expected to launch in late 2024.

How is Viasat handling the financial impacts of satellite issues?
Viasat has claimed part of a $421 million insurance policy for the ViaSat-3 F1 and is navigating a separate claim for the Inmarsat-6 F2 satellite. The company is also considering procuring a replacement satellite following the Inmarsat-6 F2 incident.

Is Viasat experiencing growth despite these challenges?
Yes, Viasat has experienced a 73% growth in revenues due to a rise in commercial inflight connectivity service subscriptions, with over 3,500 aircraft equipped and more than 1,400 in the queue.

What financial losses has Viasat reported recently?
Viasat reported a net loss of $124 million for the quarter due to integration costs and increased interest expenses following its acquisition of British operator Inmarsat.

Definitions of Key Terms and Jargon:

Geostationary Satellites: Satellites positioned at a fixed spot above the earth’s equator, following the direction of earth’s rotation, providing consistent coverage to the same geographic area.

Global Coverage: The capability of a satellite network to provide data and communication services across the entire globe, without significant gaps in service.

Inflight Wi-Fi: Wireless internet service provided to passengers aboard an aircraft during flight, allowing them to stay connected for personal or business purposes.

Commercial Operations: The phase when a satellite becomes fully operational and begins to provide services to customers for revenue generation.

Integration Costs: Expenses incurred to merge operations, technologies, and resources of two companies into a single, combined entity.

Suggested Related Links:
Viasat Official Website
Inmarsat Official Website