O3b Fails To Impress Customers

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More troubles for embattled low earth orbit operator 03b as the English newspaper the Daily Telegraph reviews the broadband service on board the Royal Caribbean Ship that is trialling 03b’s service. When the service does not work, the company says it expects things to get better when O3b launches a “UIK satellite”. Perhaps someone forgot to tell the customer that 03B can only work within a narrow band of equatorial latitudes, because its satellites are very low to the ground and cannot see beyond the curvature of the Earth to northerly locations like the UK. Even then, it needs 12 satellites to work to spec, and it currently has four live satellites and four crippled ones, the subject of an insurance claim. With everything riding on an upcoming launch on Soyuz, which ESA vacated due to nerves following the Russian rocket’s recent disaster, fingers must be crossed tight.

Meanwhile, in earnings-related interviews, SES CEO Karim Sabbagh attempted to battle his way out of profit warnings malaise. With the stock price off some 10% following the warning and growth re-rating, Sabbagh told journalists that growth will come from O3b. Has he truly drunk the O3b coolaid or does he expect to follow the tried and tested exit path for ex-senior SES executives of a stint running O3b ?

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