Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023
The Commercial Agreement Between SES and SpaceX’s Starlink to Serve the Cruise Market

SES and SpaceX’s Starlink have entered into a commercial agreement to jointly serve the fast-growing cruise market. Both companies already have existing relationships with cruise lines, and this new partnership will see SES sell and manage multi-orbit connectivity services in the cruise market, with a portion of the sales going to Starlink. SES is also responsible for providing data traffic management software.

Sami Kassab, an equity analyst at investment bank Exane/BNPP, highlights the significance of this agreement for SES. With SpaceX now positioned as a partner rather than a direct competitor in the cruise market, SES gains an advantage. While Starlink has limited distribution capabilities in the B2B market and will face competition from Eutelsat/OneWeb, the partnership with SES allows Starlink to leverage their distribution network. This cooperation could potentially extend to other markets in the future.

Meanwhile, SpaceX’s Starlink is expanding its presence in the business market, including sectors such as maritime, airlines, and energy. Jonathan Hofeller, Starlink’s VP of commercial sales, emphasizes the importance of providing additional services like cybersecurity, installation, and customer support alongside high-speed, low-latency capacity. Starlink has also opened up to reseller channels, relying on partners to deliver these services to end customers.

The agreement between SES and SpaceX’s Starlink is not surprising, as SES already has a similar arrangement in place with Speedcast. The partnership allows both companies to tap into the growing demand for broadband connectivity in the cruise industry and provide comprehensive solutions to cruise ships with multiple connections from different satellite orbits.

This agreement marks a significant move for both SES and SpaceX’s Starlink, enabling them to strengthen their market position and better serve customers in the thriving cruise industry.