November 8, 2018 / 5:03 PM / 12 days ago

Inmarsat plans new low-cost service to stem maritime customer losses

LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Inmarsat’s chief executive said on Thursday he would stem a stream of defections by its maritime customers to rival satellite providers with the launch of its own low-price service geared towards crew members using social media.

Shares in the satellite provider fell as much as 10 percent on Thursday after it reported declining maritime revenue in a set of third-quarter numbers that otherwise met expectations.

“The performance in Q3 has been driven predominantly by aviation where we have outperformed materially, and in government, which has had a very strong performance as well,” chief executive Rupert Pearce said in an interview.

“(It was) slightly disappointing for maritime, but I think over the medium term we are in a very strong position.”

He said Inmarsat was winning substantial market share in the key high bandwidth VSAT market segment, with its Fleet Xpress product securing around 60 percent of new installations.

But it was losing a larger-than-expected number of customers to low-end VSAT competitors.

“These are losses we can stem pretty quickly by bringing in our own retaliation if you like,” he said. “We have the tools to go after that market aggressively and close the losses down.”

He said Inmarsat would launch a new product around the turn of the year targeted at crew members who typically wanted connections for social media use to address the losses.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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