No longer full speed ahead for miniVSAT

Posted in Inmarsat, Maritime, VSAT at 7:22 pm by timfarrar

In January 2009, we questioned whether KVH and Viasat could afford the investment needed to complete their 2009 coverage expansion plans, as shown below.

Planned miniVSAT coverage expansion (Dec 2008)

Now the planned coverage expansion shown on KVH’s website has changed, with the South Pacific coverage expected in Q4 2009 dropped (at least for now), and the East Asian expansion delayed. Is the current economic slowdown beginning to impact miniVSAT demand, or is it just that with other parts of KVH’s business suffering, the company is now trying to be more cautious with its investment?

Although Inmarsat has not yet seen any impact from the downturn, we should find out in the next few months how widely the current economic pain is going to be felt in the maritime satcom market. Given the high capital cost of maritime VSAT equipment, it wouldn’t be surprising if VSAT suffered more than Inmarsat from any slowdown in maritime communications spending.

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