The FTSE 250-mobile and telecoms firm said that under the agreement, which would cover an initial ten-year period, it would become Panasonic’s exclusive provider of Ka-band in-flight connectivity (IFC) for commercial aviation.
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This would allow Panasonic to provide access to Inmarsat’s GX Aviation Ka-band satellite network to its current and future customers.
In return, Panasonic would allow Inmarsat to offer its portfolio of services and NEXT solutions to its own commercial aviation customers, including customer support and technical services.
Looking ahead, the company said it would also collaborate with Panasonic to develop a next-generation GX Aviation terminal as well as new connectivity-enabled services, data analytics and technology to improve overall end-to-end performance.
Inmarsat added that the agreement would provide “greater quality, consistency of experience and more choice” to airlines and passengers in the IFC market, which it estimated would be worth US$100bn by 2035.
Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s chief executive, said that the move would “build upon the success of the global GX network”, adding that aviation would be “a significant individual growth driver” of the overall business”.
The news may provide the impetus for an increased takeover bid for Inmarsat by US satellite communications firm EchoStar, which had a previous 532p offer rejected over the summer with Inmarsat’s board saying it “very significantly” undervalued the group.
Shares were up 2.5% at 509.6p.