Fri. Sep 29th, 2023
Intelsat Seeks Startups to Compete with SpaceX and Starlink

Intelsat, a leading satellite company, is seeking partnerships with startups to compete with SpaceX and Starlink, the dominant players in the satellite industry. Currently, SpaceX and Starlink account for more than half of all satellites in orbit. To stay competitive, Intelsat has made strategic investments ranging from $5 million to $25 million in four companies that manufacture satellites designed for lower orbits of less than 1,200 miles.

Intelsat’s CEO, David Wajsgras, explained that these investments are aimed at companies bringing new technologies to the industry. These technologies include direct-to-handset communication, spectrum expansion, and new capabilities at the gateway and terminal levels. However, Wajsgras did not disclose the names of the companies Intelsat is supporting.

Intelsat is taking these measures to counter the growing competition from SpaceX and Starlink. By positioning itself as a leader in direct satellite-to-smartphone communication, Intelsat aims to transform telecommunication services by overcoming geographical and regulatory barriers that have historically limited cross-border communication. Unlike Starlink, Intelsat’s approach does not require consumers to purchase specialized equipment such as routers or antennas.

EchoStar, another satellite and broadband services company founded by billionaire Charlie Ergen, sees this development as the “next holy grail of communications.” In anticipation of this opportunity, EchoStar is merging with Dish Network, both companies aiming to take advantage of the benefits provided by lower orbit satellites in delivering faster broadband connectivity, especially in remote areas and crisis situations.

While the advancements in satellite technology offer great benefits, there are concerns from astronomers about potential collisions or interference with observations of the universe. As more equipment is launched into space, the need for responsible and cautious practices becomes increasingly important.

Intelsat’s search for startup partnerships demonstrates the company’s commitment to remaining competitive in the rapidly expanding satellite industry. By harnessing innovative technologies and leveraging lower orbit satellites, Intelsat aims to enhance global communication and connectivity.