Inmarsat aircraft Wi-Fi lift off set to fill coffers

Pre-tax profit dipped a few percentage points, though


Brit satellite biz Inmarsat has doubled its statutory profits and grown its revenues, thanks mainly to its in-flight Wi-Fi offerings.

A 50 per cent jump in its aviation business unit sales, from $35.9m to $53.9m, spurred Inmarsat’s group revenues to $358.3m – an increase of five per cent from Q3 2016’s $341.9m, it announced on Thursday.

Post-tax profit came in at $55.6m, down sharply from the year-ago quarter's profit of $90.7m. Pre-tax profits, in contrast, dipped a touch [PDF] from $204.6m to $191.3m – a decline of six per cent.

Lufthansa installed Inmarsat’s GX in-flight Wi-Fi product on 141 of its aircraft, along with a flurry of Asian low-cost carriers including Air Asia. A total of 1,300 airliners now have Inmarsat’s onboard satellite Wi-Fi installed, with an “active pipeline” of 3,000 more aircraft due to have it added.

The EU Aviation Network ground-and-air in-flight broadband system, which is the subject of various legal challenges by satellite connectivity rival ViaSat, has completed its “successful flight trials over recent months”, according to Inmarsat, and the company has secured regulatory approval in all 28 EU countries to start operating the network.

“In addition, 29 countries have now provided authorisations or in-principle approvals for the complementary ground component, including the UK and Germany,” said Inmarsat.

Inmarsat also noted that its machine-to-machine (M2M) revenue ticked up by 9.8 per cent to $4.6m in the quarter, the firm having also announced a deal with Jersey Telecom (JT) to provide satellite-based backhaul for M2M connectivity. The first test of this new network is being carried out in Kigali, Rwanda, using JT SIM cards.

M2M is the term for what we now call Internet of Things connectivity, with the caveat that M2M only applies to GSM-based networking; hence the SIM cards. Vodafone recently announced its V platform, which is SIM-based M2M but operating under the IoT banner for marketing purposes.

Confused? You betcha, especially as old-fashioned M2M was meant to have been ditched in favour of all the new-fangled IoT connectivity standards – which, we were told (by, among others, NB-IoT evangelist Vodafone), would largely do away with custom backhaul deals and the like.

For now, at least, there’s no harm in providing world+dog with fat (or thin) pipes, whether it’s feeding captive airline passengers or sensors in the capital of an East African nation. ®


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022