LeoSat’s progress in securing customer commitments continues to grow. The enterprise-focused Low Earth Orbit (LEO) broadband satellite operator now has over $2 billion dollars in potential orders logged via memorandums of understanding (MOUs).
“We are talking to big customers with big problems and deep pockets,” Ronald van der Breggen, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of LeoSat said. “We’re pleased with our results to date. We’re excited not only by $2 billion, but the uptake from one to two billion, which took place in 10 months. The speed of uptake is accelerating. We have a healthy pipeline, good customer traction and good pace to secure customers.”
In a meeting with Space IT Bridge at Satellite 2019, Van der Breggen provided more details on the MOU process and the range of customers willing to consider LeoSat services. Verticals include oil & gas, media, maritime, and enterprise, with customers geographically “well spread.” The commitments don’t include government customers, who typically don’t do MOUs.
LeoSat is on track for a Bring In Use (BIU) timeframe of its first satellites in 2021 with the rest of the 108 satellite constellation going up between 2022 and 2024. Thales is now working to optimize the satellite design, bringing down cost and reducing weight. Plans are to launch 14 satellites at a time, fully populating one orbital plane at a time.
One of LeoSat’s strengths is being able to offer an end-to-end, on-net, point-to-point solution without having to worry about a third-party gateway or last-mile connectivity. Van der Breggen anticipates being able to turn up customers within one to two days anywhere “between the North and South Pole,” which matches or beats the installation time of a typical urban fiber turnup.
Security is also a benefit to potential customers, a benefit they’re willing to pay over and above typical satellite and broadband connections. “Five percent of [enterprise] traffic needs to be super-secure,” Van der Breggen said. “We go rooftop to rooftop, no intercepting, no third-party networks, I know 100 percent sure it stays in the building. How do you put a price on that? Enterprise customers don’t.”
It’s the price and service premium that LeoSat says its business is unique and moves it out of both traditional geosynchronous communication services on the legacy side of satellite and the “Connecting the unconnected” theme being promoted by new market entrant OneWeb.