On May 13, 2021, Intelsat announced its bankruptcy under Chapter 11 protection of US bankruptcy law. Just like OneWeb a few months before it, the company took advantage of this regulatory shield to prepare for a better future.
Intelsat is preparing its exit from bankruptcy. To achieve this, the company specializing in the provision of telecom services by satellite announced on Wednesday January 12 that it has ordered two software-defined satellites for this purpose from the manufacturer Thales Alenia Space. These are Intelsat 41 (IS-41) and Intelsat 44 (IS-44) which will cover Africa in broadband connectivity, in addition to other regions of the world.
The two new devices will meet the demand for connectivity on the continent and represent new sources of income for the company. The IS-41 and IS-44 satellites will join the Intelsat 42 and Intelsat 43, ordered from Airbus at the end of 2020, for a new 5G-capable network that can be reconfigured in orbit.
“ With the addition of Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44, in partnership with Thales Alenia Space, Intelsat will cover the earth with software-defined satellites, advancing the world’s first 5G software-defined network, designed to unify the global ecosystem telecommunications , ”said Steve Spengler, President and CEO of Intelsat.
This project is part of a post-restructuring growth strategy that could include the operator’s own low-earth orbit constellation. Intelsat has eight other satellites under construction in addition to the four software-defined satellites.
Intelsat has been operating in bankruptcy since mid-May 2021, under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy law, after the company missed an April 15 debt repayment deadline estimated at $ 14.7 billion. The company’s recovery strategy comes after approval of a restructuring plan aimed at reducing its debt. It will not only contribute to the consolidation of its financial balance sheet, but also to the consolidation of its future investment capacities.
According to Intelsat, the two satellites under construction are expected to enter service in 2025 and will be based on Thales Alenia Space’s Space Inspire platform. From there, they will enable the operator to provide commercial and government mobility services as well as cellular links across Africa and other regions.