Eutelsat and China Unicom sign MoU on inflight connectivity

Eutelsat 172B. Image: Airbus Defence and Space.
Eutelsat 172B. Image: Airbus Defence and Space.

Eutelsat Communications has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China United Network Communications Co., Ltd. (China Unicom) to enhance inflight connectivity services across an area stretching from the west coast of North America to Asia, and down to Australia.

The MoU, which was signed on January 9, by Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat and Xiaochu Wang, Chairman of China Unicom, aims in particular to leverage resources on the EUTELSAT 172B satellite.

Cooperation to further develop satellite communication services across the globe is also under consideration.

The agreement comes under China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. This is an ambitious development campaign through which China wants to boost trade and stimulate economic growth across Asia and beyond.

It hopes to do so by building massive amounts of infrastructure connecting it to countries around the globe.

Rodolphe Belmer said: “China Unicom is an ideal partner for promoting satellite communications in ‘Belt and Road’ regions.

“This agreement builds on the cooperation that started in 2008, when Eutelsat provided satellite transmission services to China Unicom during the Beijing Olympic Games.

“This cooperation also highlights the quality and reach of Eutelsat’s in-orbit resources, in particular at the 172° East orbital position. This reinforced partnership will allow both companies to leverage on their own strengths in order to address future opportunities in the connectivity markets.”

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