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7th October 2019

We ask Satcom Global’s COO Alex Stewart: ‘Why Upgrade to Aura VSAT?'

With VSAT becoming increasingly popular and the maritime satellite communications market becoming more crowded, ship owners and managers have more choice than ever for what they use onboard. We spoke to our COO Alex Stewart to find out the reality of the situation and to hear how our flagship Aura VSAT solution is making waves and standing out among the competition.


If vessel operators are already purchasing large data allowance packages through their current satellite communications service - why would they move to VSAT?

“Traditional L-Band communications services offer packages which provide a set bundle of data megabytes per month, and anything used or required over the contracted amount will cost extra. VSAT differs in that it is usually offered in All You Can Eat packages for one flat fee per month, giving true visibility and predictability of costs, delivering more, with less risk and administration required. Although still controlled and managed, VSAT communications can be enjoyed and utilised more freely onboard, whereas L-band services and packages with limited amounts of data and bandwidth speeds, require careful management, scrutiny and constant measuring and analysis, with excessive or accidental usage often proving to be a costly mistake.”

Doesn't everyone who needs VSAT already have it?

“No, definitely not. There are many shipping operators who initially saw VSAT as a very expensive outlay, who are now much more open to investing in it with the benefits now clearly offsetting the costs.  In addition, we have a number of customers who had VSAT with another provider, who have chosen to upgrade to Satcom Global Aura to increase their coverage and bandwidth, whilst reducing their monthly costs. We have succeeded in converting hundreds of existing Ku-band VSAT systems across multiple sectors onto the Aura network in a very short amount of time, ensuring minimal disruption to business and operations. Customers upgrading from an alternative solution have reported immediate and impressive results and we have even had positive feedback from Captains across different fleets, that Aura is the best VSAT system they have ever worked with.”

How is Aura different from the rest and why would ship managers consider changing to our VSAT network?

“As well as being incredibly versatile and offering a wide range of airtime and hardware options to customers, a key selling point of Aura is the unique network set up and the benefits this passes to customers. Our network ensures capacity is added organically with each customer registration on the network, ensuring our bandwidth commitments to customers are truly guaranteed from the day they sign up to the day their contract with us ends. As service performance won’t degrade over time, we have no need to restrict applications available to be used onboard, which is something quite rare in our industry and something our customers are very in tune with.”

 How can ship managers be sure Aura will be superior to their existing solution?

“With some of our largest fleet wins, we have conducted trials, so the customer has had a chance to test the solution thoroughly and experience how well it performs, seeing first-hand the benefits of VSAT, and more specifically the superior performance and reliability of Aura. To date, 100% of Aura trials have resulted in more activations across the fleet; speaking for the impressive and superior performance of the solution.  We also have convincing testimonies from a number of shipping operators who are renowned for having the highest of standards including Zodiac Maritime and Euronav, who are both industry leading in their considered adoption of technologies to improve business efficiency and support their commitment to the health and happiness of the crew onboard.”

Why choose Satcom Global as your satellite communications supplier?

“Why not test us out to find out if we can bring real value to your large fleet? During our trial process, as well as benefiting from the high-performance VSAT service, customers also have the chance to experience the friendly and knowledgeable service that Satcom Global prides itself on, from sales support through to technical management of installation and implementation. Satcom Global has a very customer focussed ethos, and with over 45 years’ experience in the maritime sector and an electrical engineering background, we are well placed to understand and support customer requirements. We lack the inertia of some providers, adopting a much more consultative approach to the sales process, which means getting the proposition right and satisfying our customers from the outset.”


As seafarer demands increase and operational capabilities at sea continue to develop in the maritime sector, Satcom Global Aura VSAT adapts and grows with the market. This year we have added the new High-Throughput Satellites SES-12, SES-14 and SES-15 to our network enhancing the Aura service coverage across the Americas, the west coast of Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, offering incremental high-performance capacity as well as greater reliability and flexibility for our customers.

Satcom Global Aura was also upgraded to the iDirect Velocity platform, enabling customers of the high-speed Ku-band service to benefit from higher capacity per vessel, improved satellite network management, as well as the ability to fully capitalize on the coverage and additional capacity from network suppliers. Satcom Global Aura is the scalable futureproof solution for oceangoing vessels.

For more information on Aura VSAT please visit our Resources page to download our product sheets or contact [email protected]

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To date, 100% of Aura trials have resulted in more activations across the fleet; speaking for the impressive and superior performance of the solution."
Alex Stewart, COO