Fierce competition and consolidation awaited in the IFC market

June 8, 2017

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.

On the ATG side, competition is also becoming stronger, and Gogo will lose its monopoly in the US with SmartSky Networks entering into service in the coming months. In addition, other projects are in discussion, following the announcement of Pivotal concerning a new ATG network. Europe is also a hot market at this time, with Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network soon to be entering into service and already competing to secure market shares.

To face this tougher competition, service providers are continuously improving their network capacity, backed by the launch of high capacity satellites dedicated to the aero market (e.g. Viasat-2, E172B, GX F-4, etc.) and investing in new equipment which has a critical role to play in the quality of service delivered to the passengers. However, despite all these efforts, considering the large volume of associated investments required and the limited size of the addressable market, future consolidation seems undeniable.

Euroconsult, the leading consulting firm specialized in connectivity and telecom, maintains a constant research program on the IFEC sector. For those who wish to have a more in-depth analysis, the latest edition of Euroconsult’s research report dedicated to “Prospect for Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity” is now available. Further information on Euroconsult’s research products and tailored consulting services can be found here.

Euroconsult also organizes the unique executive conference dedicated to Inflight Connectivity. Called SmartPlane, the conference brings together the leading decisions makers impacting the evolution of this market to present their growth strategies during a series of keynote speeches and roundtable discussions. The success of last year’s edition is evidence of the growing number of opportunities for all inflight connectivity stakeholders in this market. The 2nd edition will take place at the Westin Paris Vendome on September 11, 2017. Visit for more information.

Capucine Fargier
Senior Consultant
Capucine is one of Euroconsult’s experts in in-flight connectivity markets, based in Paris. She regularly contributes to consulting missions and research reports primarily focused on mobile communications. She holds a double Masters Degree, including an engineering degree in Aeronautical and Space Technologies from ISAE-SUPAERO and specialized Masters from HEC Paris in Large Project Management.