Fierce competition and consolidation awaited in the IFC market

The IFC market was, until recently, a relatively consolidated market, with five service providers having a combined market share of ~99% of the total number of connected aircraft at the end of 2016.

Given the increasing demand and opportunities attached to IFC solutions (71 airlines were offering IFC in 2016 compared to 32 in 2012), a number of new players are entering the game, leading to fierce competition to win new contracts. Inmarsat and ViaSat, historically playing the role of satellite operator in the market, are going directly to the airlines, repositioning themselves as service providers. Both have been pretty aggressive in winning new contracts and are expected to have a much bigger part of the pie within the next two years.

71 airlines are flying with IFEC – who will be next?

In a four-year time-frame, the number of airlines that have equipped at least one aircraft with in-flight connectivity (e.g.; cabin connectivity for passengers) has more than doubled. Demand is continuing to show strong signs of growth as eleven additional airlines had contracted IFC services with one of the seven service providers but had not yet started installations at the end of 2016. This tremendous rate of growth and interest from airlines is being driven by the development of new applications and innovations and improvements at the network and service levels.