High Cost of Flat Panel Antennas Biggest Barrier to Scale for Airlines – Not Satellite Operators

flat panel isotropics

Space News reports airlines are demanding a single antenna system that works with multiple satellite systems but claims the satellite owners.

Great article, but glosses over the biggest barrier here, when operators talk of KU and KA combined antennas, you are looking at two separate phased arrays systems in a single package and with a common control. Ultimately you pay for what you get, two antennas. 

Those extremely high cost points for a technology [todays Flat Panel Antenna's] are far from commoditised due to the essentially low volumes of the satellite and the high engineering costs caused by the design and materials, have created a situation where few organisations in our industry, if any, are generating short term, positive EBITDA in aeronautical because the payback period for these antennas runs into multiple years. 

Aero satcom is an Antenna business not an operator business at the current price levels.

Aero satcom, is an Antenna business not an operator business at the current price levels. Isotropic systems is designing a new antenna that will allow multiple beams from the same single antenna footprint without the need for phase shifters or expanding the cost, in fact, the technology aims to allow several simultaneous links on multiple frequencies without increasing the costs or effective size of the antenna. Allowing everyone and anyone to hook up to single or multiple antenna system, fully broadband, multi-beam, low cost and therefore switching the power to the airlines and the operators with closed systems. 

In the meantime, the current FPA's need to get a product out instead of continuously missing their own timelines, or operators need to get the revenues up and reduce the payback period, in aeronautical we believe companies with a strong BYOD story, and can create a seamless data to your device experience as you move on and off aircraft will win and that the onboard entertainment systems will be phased out 5-10 years from now. That means the implementation of onboard 3G pico nodes, roaming agreements etc are key to driving usage up and that credit card registrations etc. are the biggest inhibitor to maximising the revenue streams on aircraft and in other verticals after the inherently high cost of all antenna's on the market today.