Sky Perfect JSAT Corp (SJC) will invest USD 4.5M in VSAT service provider KVH as part of a strategic collaboration for maritime connectivity. SJC operates 17 satellites and provides maritime VSAT services under the OceanBB brand in Japan. This uses antenna technology KVH has developed for its own global mini-VSAT Broadband service.
This collaboration started in 2009 when KVH leased capacity on SJC’s satellites for Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean coverage. SJC’s OceanBB service was then started in 2010. This partnership was expanded in November 2017 when KVH extended its VSAT coverage by leasing more satellite capacity to cover southern oceans.
In the same month, KVH introduced its high-throughput satellite (HTS) version of its 60 cm diameter antenna TracPhone V7 to boost download speeds to 10 Mbps and upload speeds to 3 Mbps on vessels.
SJC now offers TracPhone V7 HTS antennas for its OceanBB plus service. It acquired the US$4.5M in shares in preparation for the launch of OceanBB plus, said SJC president and chief executive Shinji Takada. “Our investment is based on our conviction that KVH’s superior technology, equipment and services are crucial at this time of digitalisation in the maritime industry.”
SJC acquired around 2% of KVH’s common stock in a private placement at a purchase price of US$11.95 per share, which represents a 10% premium over the average trading price during February 2018.
OceanBB service is deployed on around 300 Japanese-flagged and foreign-flagged ships owned by Japanese companies, including gas carriers, tankers and passenger ships. It provides download speeds of 2 Mbps and upload speeds of 512 kbps, in comparison to OceanBB plus that can achieve 10 Mbps downsteam and 3 Mbps upstream.
SJC will introduce new customised plans, management tools and value-added services, such as voice over IP and media content distribution. It operates 17 satellites with coverage over Japan and the rest of Asia, plus Oceania, the Middle East, the Pacific out to Hawaii, and North America.
In 2019, SJC expects to add Boeing-built HTS units to its network with the launch of Horizons 3e, which is in collaboration with Intelsat, and JCSat18.
(Source: Marine Electronics and Communications)
Sea News, March 6