Our landmark collaboration with Panasonic marks a step-change in in-flight connectivity

20 September 2018

Rupert Pearce, CEO Inmarsat

  • aviation

  • global-xpress

It’s no secret that in today’s digital society, reliable mobile connectivity is essential to our daily life. High-speed broadband is now rightly seen as a utility, like water or electricity. People now expect to be connected everywhere they go – and nowhere is that truer than when they’re in the air.

This represents a huge opportunity for the aviation industry, which is on the cusp of a connectivity revolution.

As our in-flight connectivity (IFC) surveys have consistently shown, reliable, high-quality in-flight broadband is no longer a luxury for passengers, but an expectation, and will play a vital role in securing an airline’s competitive position in a market. It will unlock entirely new revenue streams, which are fundamentally about improving the passenger experience.

As a global satellite operator, we at Inmarsat enable that connectivity, providing high-speed, reliable broadband for airlines to offer their customers across all geographies through our Global Xpress (GX) network, which is the gold standard in delivering seamless, high-speed broadband around the world – connecting everyone, everything, everywhere.

Inmarsat’s most significant growth opportunity in the coming years is in the provision of in-flight connectivity services in commercial aviation, a new, fast-emerging market.

With that in mind, I am delighted to announce today the strategic collaboration we have agreed with Panasonic, which enables us together to offer Inmarsat’s GX Aviation paired with high-value solutions and services to customers in the commercial aviation industry worldwide. Significantly, it will allow both parties to have a unique, differentiated offering and a compelling proposition for customers.

Fundamentally, this landmark collaboration is about quality and innovation. It’s about Inmarsat as the market-leading network provider joining forces with Panasonic, the market-leading aircraft delivery provider, to offer a unique, proven and high-quality IFC solution.

The collaboration brings together Inmarsat’s proven track record of providing reliable, innovative global mobile connectivity to aircraft, and Panasonic’s market-leading in-flight entertainment, services delivery and connectivity solutions to create a best-in-class IFC solution for aircraft manufacturers, airlines and their passengers.

Under the terms of the agreement, Inmarsat will become Panasonic’s exclusive provider of Ka-band IFC for commercial aviation. Panasonic will now be able to offer Inmarsat’s high-speed, broadband connectivity service, GX Aviation, powered by Global Xpress, the world’s first global Ka-band satellite network, owned and managed by a single operator. Panasonic will continue to invest in its own network and, with GX Aviation as a primary offering for new business, will be perfectly positioned to serve both its current and future customers.

 A win-win situation for aircraft manufacturers, airlines and passengers

As any complementary collaboration between two parties should be, our agreement with Panasonic is founded on enhancing industry-wide standards.

By leveraging the respective strengths of Inmarsat and Panasonic, we will ensure best-in-class compatibility, capacity and coverage for aircraft manufacturers, airlines and their passengers. Furthermore, our agreement offers greater quality and choice to airlines and their passengers in a market independently forecast to reach a phenomenal $130 billion by 2035.

And it’s not just about the here-and-now. By combining the expertise of our two companies, which have been at the forefront of technology and innovation for nearly four decades, we will collaborate on the development of next-generation in-flight digital services and technology for the commercial aviation industry to ensure we continue to be world leaders in this market.

With the number of airline passengers set to double by 2035 and demand for in-flight broadband growing exponentially, the fundamentals underpinning the IFC opportunity for aircraft manufacturers and airlines are clear to see.

And for Inmarsat, today’s collaboration is another clear proof-point of us delivering against our stated strategy to develop new partnerships and technologies to help drive the adoption of our Global Xpress services – the gold standard in mobile connectivity for users on land, at sea and in the air.

Today, Inmarsat’s GX Aviation becomes the reference IFC network for airlines. It is a day to be truly proud and confident in our future.


About the author

rupert bioRupert Pearce joined Inmarsat in January 2005 as Group General Counsel and, from January 2009, additionally held the position of Senior Vice President, Inmarsat Enterprises. He became Chief Executive Officer in January 2012. Previously, Rupert worked for Atlas Venture, where he was a partner working with the firm’s European and US investment teams. He was previously also a partner at the international law firm Linklaters, where he spent 13 years specialising in corporate finance, M&A and private equity transactions. Rupert received an MA (First Class) in Modern History from Oxford University and won the 1995 Fullbright Fellowship in US securities law, studying at the Georgetown Law Center. He has been a visiting fellow of the Imperial College Business School, London, lecturing on the school’s Entrepreneurship programme, and is the co-author of Raising Venture Capital (Wiley).