September 20, 2018 / 6:33 AM / a month ago

Inmarsat and Panasonic partner on in-flight broadband

LONDON (Reuters) - British satellite company Inmarsat said it would collaborate with Japan’s Panasonic Avionics in providing in-flight broadband for commercial airlines.

The 10-year agreement will see Inmarsat become Panasonic’s exclusive provider of connectivity using the Ka-band satellite signal, Inmarsat said on Thursday.

In return, it will offer Panasonic’s portfolio of services to its commercial aviation customers.

Inmarsat’s chief executive Rupert Pearce said partnering with a leader in in-flight entertainment was a “massive vote of confidence” in the capability of its GX high-speed broadband network to provide in-flight broadband.

The catalyst for the partnership came from a mutual airline partner, Pearce said, and the two companies were already working on new prospects.

Air New Zealand was the first company to integrate Inmarsat’s GX services into its Panasonic in-flight entertainment, Inmarsat said in December 2016.

In-flight broadband, which allows airline passengers to email and use the internet during flights, is a growth driver for Inmarsat, which also provides communications for shipping and governments.

Its shares were trading up 3.7 percent at 514 pence at 0725 GMT.

Reporting by Paul Sandle, Editing by James Davey and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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