Satcom Direct is aiming to become a one-stop shop for business aviation in-flight connectivity services through the launch of SD Xperience, a new self-branded, technology-agnostic product portfolio. The company says this will enable it to deliver an end-to-end solution that combines data, airtime and communications services, aircraft connectivity hardware and flight operations software. Pricing structures will be tailored to each individual customer's usage and needs.

The Florida-based firm has grouped together the connectivity services it offers, which include Inmarsat's Jet ConneX and ViaSat's Ku- and Ka-band solutions, under a single umbrella brand – the idea being that it can assess the connectivity needs of each business aviation customer, and provide what it believes is the product best matched to their requirements.

The SD Xperience portfolio will also include a new Ku-band service for business aviation from Intelsat, called FlexExec, for which Satcom Direct has been appointed master distributor. Satcom Direct is also the service provider for SmartSky Networks' upcoming 4G LTE air-to-ground in-flight connectivity service.

"With all these different players in the market… we want to make it easy for business aviation customers, so when they buy SD services they're getting the best service for their individual needs," says Satcom Direct chief commercial officer Chris Moore.

This "white glove approach", he says, will enable operators to have "a high-end connectivity experience, no matter who the provider".

"We believe we're the only true independent service provider," he says. "We are the number one provider of [Inmarsat's] GX – we have a 70% market share, which tells you we believe in that service. But if a customer needs ViaSat or the new Intelsat services, they're truly getting that with SD."

He admits that this approach "could cause tensions" between rival satellite companies, but says "we will always do the right thing for the customer". Technology-agnosticism is "the way the market is going", Moore adds.

To support this approach, Satcom Direct is announcing at NBAA that it will develop over the next two years a new flat-panel, fuselage-mounted antenna for both Ku- and Ka-band services.

The antenna can be installed on smaller business jets such as the Embraer Phenom 300, which Moore says "can't currently have an antenna on the tail because there's no space".

"We've got it testing and working, and we believe we will have it on an airframe in the next two years," he adds.

Satcom Direct will display the flat-panel antenna at NBAA.

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Source: Flight Daily News