Global communications company Viasat, Russian satellite operator Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) and Russian telecom operator TMC have signed an MOU that, the partners say, aims to advance in-flight connectivity (IFC) for airlines flying into and over Russia.
Russia is a key region for in-flight communications and the three companies plan to work in partnership to provide Russian and international airlines IFC service when flying into and over Russian Federation airspace.
This cooperation is expected to offer Viasat's global airline customers roaming connectivity when flying over Russia and to provide IFC services on domestic flights within Russia. It should also give Russian and international airlines access to roam onto the Viasat global satellite network when outside of Russian airspace.
The MOU establishes an initial roaming agreement between current Viasat and GSS satellites, with Viasat operating in Russia leveraging TMC's telecom license. The partnership commenced with Viasat procuring access to Ku-band capacity on the GSS satellite, Yamal-401, while creating a path for Viasat and GSS to leverage capabilities on future satellite constellations.
It’s not just about IFC, it seems. According to Dmitry Sevastiyanov, general director at GSS, the agreement “opens up new long-term opportunities for GSS to expand satellite capacity across new mobile applications and markets”.
Each company will maintain its own intellectual property and will operate its equipment using a secure, multi-layered approach to network services. This non-binding MOU initially covers IFC services but could extend into other mobility or emerging markets within Russia.