Global communications company Viasat and mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat have said they will work closely with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to demonstrate how the planned merger of the two entities will benefit customers by improving efficiencies, lowering costs, and increasing the availability of in-flight connectivity (IFC) around the world.

The CMA announced it will refer the transaction to a Phase 2 investigation, where the CMA conducts a more detailed analysis.

Viasat and Inmarsat said they remained confident that the transaction will increase the availability of more affordable, faster, and more reliable IFC globally to operators, airlines, and passengers.

While the market is still nascent, existing providers Panasonic and Intelsat combined represent more than 75 per cent of the long-haul IFC market.

‘Helping make services more available globally’

Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s CEO and executive chairman, said: “Our market success to date has been driven by applying innovative technologies to increase IFC speeds, reliability, and affordability.

“Our investments in the ViaSat-3 constellation and the Inmarsat transaction are intended to help us make these services more available globally. Industry analysts anticipate that an already highly competitive IFC market will become even more competitive with the entrance of new, heavily financed LEO competitors.

“We believe that a comprehensive Phase 2 analysis will support that our transaction will benefit the nascent, but rapidly growing IFC services available to airline passengers.”

‘Changing market dynamics’

“Inmarsat faces intense competition every day in providing in-flight connectivity,” added Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat CEO.

“There is good reason to expect that intensity to increase given the power of well-funded new companies entering the sector.

“In the face of these changing market dynamics, the UK has much to gain by the presence of a strong satellite communications company, positioned to strengthen the country’s position in the critical space sector, while supporting its national defence and growing jobs and investment. The combined Inmarsat and Viasat would be such a company.”
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