The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Viasat shifts focus from broadband to mobile market

The company says its mobile division could bring in as much as $130 billion in revenue by 2030.

The company says its mobile division could bring in as much as $130 billion in revenue by 2030.

The headquarters of Viasat in Carlsbad, California.
The headquarters of Viasat in Carlsbad, California. (Courtesy image)

Officials at Viasat say the company is shifting its focus away from the consumer broadband market in favor of building out its mobile services sector.

The affirmation was made in Viasat’s annual report released this week, through which it said shifting consumer habits and various industry trends made it apparent that there were more growth opportunities in mobile that would require shifting some of its focus away from fixed residential broadband.

“When we originally embarked on our satellite broadband services strategy, our focus was on the U.S. fixed residential market,” Viasat officials wrote in the report. “But as we have learned more, we have purposefully and systematically chosen to derive a smaller proportion of revenues from the U.S. residential market, in favor of prioritizing growth in mobile services which has become a very large and attractive market where we have a strong position.”

Viasat primarily markets its broadband satellite Internet service in rural areas that historically have been underserved by land-based providers. Its cheapest broadband plan costs around $100 per month, with variable download speeds that average around 25 Megabits per second (Mbps).

In recent years, Viasat has faced competition from startup satellite companies and fixed wireless providers, which claim their products offer faster download speeds and lower latency at better prices. Starlink, T-Mobile and Verizon are among some of the companies vying for Viasat customers.

Viasat stopped reporting subscriber figures two years ago, around the time that competing satellite and fixed wireless products started hitting the market. Its final report put the number of broadband customers in the U.S. at just north of 590,000.

Despite this, Viasat continues to be a profitable company, due in large part to its non-consumer businesses. Enterprise and government contracts worth $2.8 billion helped push Viasat’s total revenue to $2.6 billion during its most-recent fiscal year (the figure is lower because many of those contracts have not been completely fulfilled), which includes a net income of $1.1 billion.

Viasat is not abandoning its consumer business — the company is still allowing new customers to sign up for their residential satellite Internet service, and will support existing customers over the long term. But the company is reorienting its business focus around those enterprise and government contracts, to include new mobile broadband initiatives.

“In mobile broadband we generally compete only with other satellite solutions, rather than terrestrial competitors who receive significant government subsidies,” Viasat executives wrote in the company’s annual report. “We believe we are successfully differentiated from our satellite competition. Our breadth of expertise helps us understand market demands and the advantages and disadvantages of alternative competing space systems in different orbits and frequency bands. This knowledge allows us to design, build and operate systems best suited to the unique geographic demand needs of global mobile customers.”

Viasat says its mobile broadband solutions have a number of applications, to include in-cabin WiFi connections on board domestic and international flights; business aviation; and connected cars, trains, buses and boats. Mobile broadband has helped Viasat earn $36 billion in revenue since 2020, the company said, and that figure could climb to as high as $130 billion by 2030.

Viasat’s full annual report is available to view by clicking or tapping here.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).