Eutelsat CEO, Eva Berneke, has recently spoken out on the need for increased competition in satellite connectivity. In a conversation with AFP, Berneke outlined customer demand for other options, stating, “We have a lot of customers who want us to get there quickly… they tell us they took Starlink because there wasn’t anybody else. But they want competition too. Nobody wants a monopoly.”
She highlighted that there’s space in the market for multiple operators, despite the limited number of European launch facilities. Adding further context, she pointed out that a European launch for a project to be operational by 2028 would pose a challenge.
The comments follow Eutelsat’s recent merger with UK-based low-Earth orbit (LEO) firm OneWeb, culminating in a rebrand to Eutelsat Group. The newly formed group will see OneWeb operating as a subsidiary under the name Eutelsat OneWeb, proposing an exciting blend of geostationary (GEO) and LEO satellite capabilities.
Berneke postured the merger as a significant leap forward in their service offerings. She stated, “Eutelsat Group is the only GEO-LEO operator in satellite communications that can offer a ubiquitous connectivity service.” She credits the merger as fortifying Eutelsat in terms of scale, financial strength, and enhancing their business proposition.
The merger combines Eutelsat’s high-device capacity and coverage GEO satellites with OneWeb’s new-gen LEO constellation, which promises low-latency connectivity. OneWeb is working towards achieving global reach by the end of the year. The preferred GEO satellite for Brazil’s maritime market, EUTELSAT 8 West B has recently expanded its capacity for GEO maritime connectivity services. Brazilian telco, Offshore Link Sat, specializing in offshore connectivity for the oil and gas industry, made this announcement.
Simultaneously, OneWeb has declared a partnership with African integrator NEC XON, aiming to provide Sub-Saharan Africa with LEO connectivity. As the new Eutelsat Group, the combined forces of Eutelsat and OneWeb look set to challenge the satellite communications market, providing comprehensive, low-latency, globally accessible services in the quest to avoid monopolizing the industry.