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Viasat to Offer Ka-Band Connectivity to Embraer Legacy Jets

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Viasat Inc. VSAT has announced that Embraer S.A. ERJ will be the first aviation firm to employ its high-capacity Ka-band inflight connectivity service in the latter’s Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 executive jets. This deal marks an excellent opportunity for Viasat to put Ka-band satellite broadband connectivity system to use. This will enable non-stop business communication and high speed in-flight connectivity experience for fliers.

Embraer’s aircraft connectivity will run on Viasat’s Global Aero Terminal 5510, which will connect with ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and Eutelsat KA-SAT platforms, and will be compatible with soon-to-be-launched ViaSat-3 without making any extra hardware upgrades. Initial speeds are anticipated to be 16Mbps, which Viasat expects to increase as ViaSat-3 comes online with huge capacity. ViaSat-3 platform is the fulcrum of Viasat’s global network coverage strategy, which will contain three ViaSat-3 satellites of 1 terabit per second capacity, which is the combined capacity of about 400 current communication satellites. The vital statistics of the 5510 terminal enable two antennas to be positioned together in the tail, providing a strong back-up communications network via its global Ku-band coverage, which was earlier known as Yonder.

Viasat has been serving the business aviation industry for a decade. The deal with Embraer, one of the world’s leading executive jet manufacturers, is a culmination of several years of hard work by Viasat on its global coverage ambition. Both the companies are currently in talks with regard to bringing other aircraft types, like the Phenom Light aircraft, into the Ka-band connection system. They are also in discussions about connecting regional jets.

Viasat recently extended its partnership with Honeywell International Inc. to offer high-speed Ka-band in-flight service to large and mid-cabin business jet passengers. The deal enables fliers to experience business and entertainment even at 40,000 feet above the ground.

Owing to high operating expenses, Viasat incurred a loss of 34 cents per share last quarter despite higher revenues year over year. Though the new in-flight connectivity deals seem to incur high operating costs, pulling down the overall profit in the short term, these are expected to yield positive returns in the long run.

Price Performance

Over the past three months, Viasat has persistently underperformed the industry, recording a loss of 8.9% against 0.5% growth for the industry.

Stocks to Consider

Some top-ranked stocks in the same space are Motorola Solutions, Inc. MSI and Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. UBNT each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Motorola has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8%.

Ubiquiti has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 18.6%.

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