Eutelsat KA-SAT network – please provide an overview of the Skylogic /Eutelsat ka-band high throughout satellite network:
KA-SAT satellite: capacity in GBps, coverage.
Ground network: gateways, terrestrial interconnect, etc.
Distributors: number, countries.
Subscribers: number, type (consumer, enterprise/gov).
Caranci: KA-SAT provides over 90 Gbps of aggregate (in/out) bandwidth with coverage over Europe, North Africa and a part of Middle East. The network is comprised of the KA-SAT satellite and 10 gateways (8 plus two backup gateways) located at different locations and interconnected via a fully-dedicated fiber core. Our customers can enter our terrestrial core network through any of the POPs (points of presence) located across Europe and from there they make use of our satellite services over any of the satellite beams served through the gateways.
The service is available in 55 countries and commercialized to end users via our service distributors. We are satisfied with our success thus far, which is in line with our expectations for B2B services.
SP: HTS platforms tend to adopt a service model similar to cellular data plans, where service plans are defined by in/out max data rates and a monthly data allowance. However, Skylogic recently introduced new service packages with higher speeds and one with unlimited data usage. Pls elaborate on the rationale for this shift.
Caranci: Our service packages are defined by peak data rates (outbound and inbound) and a monthly traffic allowance. Peak data rates are “best effort” so cannot be guaranteed all the time but business-class packages can also include a minimum guaranteed data rate. We recently went through a major redesign of our service plans, which involved a substantial increase in supported data rates. This was enabled by a network technology upgrade that increased our platform’s total throughput. End users (both business and consumers) can now enjoy higher speeds at the same price.
We also introduced a service plan with unlimited data usage limited to a total 20 000 accounts in certain European countries. This was mainly added as a promotional tool and to make it easier for our distributors to market the service. We found out that it was sometimes a challenge for our distributors to explain to end users how the traffic allowance mechanism works (daily traffic windows, etc.) On top of (or as a result of) this, distributors found resistance from certain user segments to capped data plans. Quite frankly, this is rather a perception-based barrier since most user segments rarely reach the monthly traffic cap, but by introducing an “all-you-can-eat” service package, we empower distributors to overcome such user perception with a peace-of-mind offer.
SP: HTS tooway is a high capacity broadband platform commercialized by distributors across Europe, that virtually rely on Skylogic’s infrastructure. At a high level, what are the general terms that shape these agreements: geographic play, contract length, volume commitments, geographic/ sector exclusivity, equipment rental, etc.
Caranci: We don’t fully disclose our terms but in general all of these factors are at play when we strike distribution agreements. We are currently focusing on fine-tuning our distribution network, which is already quite extensive. We are managing it in a way to maximize our reach of the market and develop a network of healthy and profitable distributors. Our connectivity service is so competitive that all our partners can take advantage of offering the best-in-class satellite broadband service to their respective markets.
To summarize, our channel strategy is focused on quality. In the B2B sector, we and our partners create value by enabling new services in new markets through our connectivity services.
SP: Skylogic announced service options for satellite service providers that want to lease bulk capacity and define their own service plans on the KA-SAT satellite. Can you please explain how this differs from Skylogic-defined business packages?
Caranci: Our objective is to replicate the VNO (virtual network operator) service model so that distribution partners can act in front of their customers as fully-functional satellite service providers. The difference with our enterprise-class service packages is that service providers can lease bulk satellite capacity from Eutelsat and define their own service packages, overbooking and traffic prioritization policies. When comparing this service model against the traditional VNO model, the two main differences are: 1- It is a fully-virtual service, the service provider does not need to host satellite broadband gear at third-party teleports; 2- Bulk capacity is leased in Mbps, not in Mhz. On top of this, the service can be made available with bandwidth pooling across different beams and regions.
SP: One interesting integrated service introduced by Skylogic is Newspotter for newsgathering and video contribution. What other integrated services is Eutelsat considering to introduce. Are cellular backhaul and mobile data offload being considered? What about mobility services like aero?
Caranci: We are seeking to further develop solutions for the following market segments:
- Oil & Gas: lucrative segment requiring high service availability
- Cellular Backhaul and Offload: We can develop this in partnership with telcos and mobile operators. We have just started analyzing what the most efficient service structure would be for 2G, 3G, 4G and WiMax. We are conscious of the potential of backhaul optimization and are therefore developing solutions to handle the complexities associated with cellular signaling and protocols.
- Mobility: We are moving into the market for in-flight broadband connectivity following the agreement signed with LIVE TV, which has already attracted the Irish airline, Aer Lingus, as the first client. We also see potential in high-speed trains taking advantage of a number of the particular features of KA-SAT: 1-an orbital location providing great visibility for services in Western Europe which concentrates the majority of rail lines; 2- KA-SAT has great spectral power for mobility, 3- We can provide more mobile bandwidth at a more competitive price than any other alternative;
- IP Trunking: With KA-SAT we can take IP trunking to a new level by tapping into a larger but more price-sensitive market. We see great potential for this in North Africa.
- Telemetry: Characterized by low data rates but the lower cost of the HTS terminals makes the service more attractive to a market segment seeking lower CPE costs and higher reliability.
- Cloud-based services: Since we can offer capacity on demand, we have started exploring how our network can complement connectivity requirements for data centers offering cloud-based services.
- Backup Networks: This is a service model that horizontally crosses all business segments. Our service has a low CPE cost which better enables pay-as-you-use service models. We envision that in the long term, all sorts of backup services combined could account for the majority of our satellite traffic.
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