European Commission Approved Viasat’s Acquisition of Inmarsat

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Viasat and Inmarsat have announced that the European Commission (EC) unconditionally approved Viasat's acquisition of Inmarsat.

Both Inmarsat and Viasat are providers of two-way satellite communication services. While Viasat operates 4 GEO satellites, Inmarsat operates 15 GEO satellites. These companies utilize capacity from their respective GEO satellites to offer broadband in-flight connectivity services to commercial airlines in the EEA and worldwide. The Commission examined 2 aspects:

  • the impact on competition in the broadband in-flight connectivity (IFC) market for commercial airlines in the EEA and globally; and
  • the competitive pressure from new non-GEO satellite operators entering or planning to enter the IFC market.

The Commission concluded that the parties' market position would remain moderate and that there would be sufficient competitive pressure from sizable competitors. The growing and nascent nature of the IFC market, along with excess satellite capacity, creates opportunities for both existing competitors and potential new entrants.

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