With SpaceX’s Starlink constellation leading the space-based communications market, satellite operators OneWeb and Intelsat are positioning themselves to compete with the company, especially in military and government services. OneWeb’s vice president for defense and security, Chris Moore, stated that there is a high demand for these services, and other providers are likely to join the market soon. Intelsat’s vice president of global government and satellite services, Rory Welch, explained that Starlink’s success has forced traditional providers like Intelsat to improve their services and make new investments.
Global coverage is a key factor for OneWeb and Intelsat in competing with Starlink. OneWeb has launched hundreds of satellites to low Earth orbit and expects to achieve global coverage by early next year. During the DSEI conference, OneWeb announced that the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, Argus, had successfully connected to its LEO constellation, marking the first time a military vessel deployed its SATCOM services. OneWeb is also set to merge with French SATCOM provider Eutelsat, offering new orbits and expanding its coverage.
Intelsat, on the other hand, has established a global government and satellite services business to focus on growing its work with international allies. The company aims to provide beyond-line-of-sight communications to countries that operate in austere environments with less infrastructure. It also offers assistance to customers in designing, building, launching, and operating their satellites.
Both OneWeb and Intelsat are investing in their future networks and planning for the next generation of satellites. OneWeb is designing its Gen 2 satellites to be dual-use from the outset, catering to both military and commercial requirements. Intelsat, meanwhile, is looking to expand its global satellite network to include operations in medium Earth orbit.
As Starlink’s dominance continues, satellite operators like OneWeb and Intelsat are actively positioning themselves to compete and meet increasing connectivity demands, particularly in the military and government sectors.