Inmarsat continues to service maritime

Despite extending its services to the aeronautical and mobile markets several years ago, satellite communications provider, Inmarsat is confident its traditional market space, the maritime industry, will continue to be its main revenue generator.

According to Captain Phil van Bergen, Inmarsat's maritime marketing manager, the maritime industry contributes 75 per cent of Inmarsat's revenues.

"Ships and planes are always going to require some form of satellite communication. In the mobile market . . . it won't be long before some wide area network manages to get a point of presence even to the most remotest location, therefore it's a constant battle to find even more remote locations," van Bergen said.

"The world is shrinking as far as telecomms is concerned. . . there's not that much of a driver for remote communications within the mobile market when you've got the Equants, AT&Ts, and BTs all looking at expanding their wide area networks to provide these big international organisations with the enhanced capabilities of their corporate networks."

According to van Bergen, the recent privatisation of the 20-year-old organisation is expected to have a positive effect on the maritime industry.

"Inmarsat can now react a lot faster to market changes," he said.

"[The] intergovernmental organisation was far too bureaucratic. It couldn't make fast decisions, it couldn't solicit external investments," van Bergen said.

"There were all kinds of barriers in the way of operating in a more competitive environment."

Van Bergen said the newly structured organisation will be able reduce product development cycles and bring products to market much quicker, in line with market changes within the maritime industry.

Bergen said the privatisation will also attract more external investment and the opportunity for an initial public offering in about two years.

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