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Thales, Inmarsat sign MOA for in-flight connectivity

SwiftBroadband, GX Aviation to be primary satellite services for Thales' TopSeries IFEC system
Miranda Mills, President of Aviation at Inmarsat

Thales and Inmarsat have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to add Thales as a partner in marketing Inmarsat’s connectivity solutions to the commercial aviation market.

Inmarsat Aviation provides connectivity for a consistent global experience for the whole aircraft, from safety communications to high-speed broadband and live TV in the cabin. It’s wholly-owned and operated satellite constellations and ground networks are designed and purpose-built for mobile assets, such as aircraft. SwiftBroadband currently delivers consistent global coverage through its constellation of four L-band satellites, including Alphasat, launched in July 2013, which is reportedly the most advanced L-band mobile communications satellite ever deployed.

In 2015, when GX Aviation enters service, airlines will have access to the only global Ka-band network. GX will bring a new dawn in aircraft connectivity, providing high-speed broadband connectivity for all user requirements throughout the flight.

Under the MOA, SwiftBroadband and GX Aviation are the primary and preferred satellite services for Thales’ TopSeries In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) system. Thales will work with Inmarsat and its value-added resellers to deliver the full breadth of GSM and internet services to airlines and their passengers.

Commenting on this strategic direction, Dominique Giannoni, CEO of Thales’s IFEC, says, “In today’s world, passengers are no longer prepared to remain out of communications for the duration of a whole flight and it is up to global organisations, such as Thales and Inmarsat, to ensure that airlines are able to provide customers with fast, reliable and above all, safe connectivity. In addition, this communications channel will allow access to larger amounts of content from the Thales TopSeries IFEC system and/or the passengers’ own devices. The ultimate aim of this agreement is to achieve today in the airline market, what network operators and mobile phone manufacturers achieved a decade ago by making passengers and systems connected anytime, anywhere.”

Miranda Mills, President of Aviation at Inmarsat, adds: “Inmarsat invests billions of dollars in delivering high-speed mobile satellite services. As a result, SwiftBroadband and GX Aviation complement each other perfectly, covering the full range of airlines’ connectivity needs both now and in the future. We already provide satcom solutions to more than 15,000 aircraft. Working with Thales, we will extend our reach further, bringing the benefits of our scalable global networks to more and more airlines around the world.”