Major Satellite Operator CEOs Clash Over 5G

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the top satellite operators remain optimistic that they can take advantage of new growth opportunities in areas such as In-Flight Connectivity (IFC), 5G, and connected transportation. This was one of the main takeaways of the “Satellite and the Hyper-Connected World: The view from leading operators and businesses” panel at World Satellite Business Week (WSBW) in Paris.

More details on satellite 5G strategy HERE.


While the panel was largely conducted in good spirits, the main clash came around 5G and the relationships between satellite players and telcos going forward, which provoked a little controversy. While Intelsat has pioneered some interesting spectrum sharing initiatives in the US, it seemed clear that Viasat CEO Mark Dankberg had a very different view than Intelsat’s. “I don’t see the mobile operators as our friends. We need to be extremely wary of how we throw ourselves on the 5G bandwagon. Spectrum is hugely important for us,” he said.

Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler took an opposite view, believing what Intelsat was doing could be key for the satellite industry to play a fuller role on the 5G landscape going forward. “5G is a huge gamechanger for us. We see satellite as part of the standards discussion now. Standards around 5G have huge potential for our sector. There will be multi-faceted ways to play in 5G. Satellite has unique attributes. We have a lot of work to do to embrace this (5G),” he added.

Viasat was a big winner in the Connect America Auction, details HERE. This is a story that needs more digging, just what is Viasat rural broadband strategy.  Stay Tuned.



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