Maritime VSAT Statistics

For your interest, here are a few statistics and figures about the maritime VSAT market. You have our permission to quote these figures providing that you label any information you use as  © and reference is made at each use to this www site (www.comsys.co.uk). These figures run into 2014, but are not complete for the whole year:


There are a number of segments within the maritime niche which have been very well targeted and are now effectively saturated. These include O&G rigs & platforms with the leading providers being Harris CapRock and RigNet with ITC Global coming up fast; cruise lines, with MTN and Harris CapRock dominating; oil & gas supply (Airbus/Marlink, DTS, Inmarsat, BlueTide, GDS and other O&G specialists); and, ferries (Airbus/Marlink). These sub-segments are small in volume less than 6,000 ships in total but very high in value. The related market in the oil and gas business is broken out as maritime in the latest COMSYS Maritime VSAT Report. This includes supply vessels, drill ships, seismic vessels and dive support services.  It would be natural to conclude that the operator positions in these segments are essentially set, but this is far from the case and there are many ambitious entrants as market disruption is rising.

Changes over the past couple of years in the demand for broadband at sea have increased the number of operators deploying stabilised antenna systems from a handful of very specialised companies to more than 170 service providers across the world all interested or providing some form of VSAT service to the maritime industry.  The past six years have seen a major interest in penetrating the next levels of the market which comprises several sub-segments that are both regional and international in scope. There has also been a fundamental change in the market in the form of the wider commercial segment now beginning to see broadband at sea as an essential requirement to both retain crew and reduce operational costs.


Recent growth of maritime VSAT services has been extremely vibrant as commercial fleets the world over have increasingly thrown away the inhibitions so evident in past years.  All stabilised antenna VSAT services have shown strong long term growth in the number of vessels served with growth at 5 year compound annual rates of around 17 per cent as of end-2013 and revenues posting a CAGR of 15 per cent, driven not only by increased deployments, but   also rapidly escalating bandwidth requirements.  The past two years have seen a sea-change (pun intended!) in the wider commercial tanker, container and freight market as fleet owners and operators have finally accepted the criticality and utility of broadband and the fact that VSAT services represent an important tool to lower costs and claw back towards profitability after the economic woes experienced in the years following the downturn in 2008 and 2009. Underlying this the customer base has broadened quite considerably and neither average prices nor margins are as high as they were in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but increased bandwidth usage has nevertheless held up revenues. Of the top 12 revenue earners in the market, the largest O&G and High-End Commercial specialists remain the most substantial, but the list is now far more diversified with other operators focusing on Commercial, Fishing and Leisure segments.

Maritime Stabilised Antenna VSAT Market Sales

The maritime industry now enjoys a far greater diversity of choice in hardware and service as well as developments which promise to advance airtime and equipment that will further feed the need.

MSS services are clearly important and play an essential role for safety and back-up services, but the lower bandwidth and higher pricing that L-band services have to bear has now ensured that MSS is more of a complement than a competitor to VSAT.  Revenues from stabilised VSAT services (which include bundled hardware) grew to over $1.3 billion in 2014 and the number of vessels, including rigs and platforms, in service closed in on 21,000.

The 4th Edition of the COMSYS Maritime VSAT Report analyses the total available maritime market based on primary research, publicly available data, specific data points from industry contacts and research commissioned by COMSYS from maritime industry consultants.  The report shows that there are over 1.3 million vessels of all types that could theoretically be connected by satellite services and that, after removing the small yacht market, almost 285,000 vessels represent the core opportunity of which over 25 per cent are actual or near term potential customers for VSAT.  The breakdown of these vessels by segment can be seen in the pie chart opposite. 

Addressable VSAT Maritime Market