Kymeta buys satellite service provider Lepton Global Solutions
Satellite-antenna manufacturer Kymeta today announced its purchase of satellite service provider Lepton Global Solutions, which will let Kymeta provide a “one-stop-shop” offering to critical users seeking mobile terrestrial broadband in even remote locations, a company official said.
Bill Marks, chief strategy officer for Kymeta, said the deal has been closed, making Lepton Global Solutions a wholly owned subsidiary that will be branded as Lepton Global Solutions, a Kymeta company. Terms of the acquisition were not released.
With this deal, Kymeta—known for its mobile satellite antenna products that can be mounted on vehicles or transported in Pelican cases—will be able to include satellite connectivity through Lepton Global Solutions, so customers do not have to secure satellite service separately, Marks said.
“Customers want to have a full solution,” Marks said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “They don’t just want to buy hardware from some company and then go to another company to try to get connectivity. They want to have a one-stop shop, where you get your hardware, you get your service, and you get your connectivity, all in one package.”
With this in mind, Kymeta opted to purchase Lepton Global Solutions, a satellite service provider that has been selling Kymeta antennas in a bundle with its bandwidth—procured from satellite operators like Intelsat—to the U.S. military and other first-responder organizations, Marks said.
“We had always expressed an interest that we wanted to be a company that did that, so it was an easy decision for us that we should look at a company [Lepton Global Solutions] that’s doing exactly what we want to do, which is marry our hardware with world-class, global connectivity and target the market that we desired—military and first responders,” Marks said.
“As one company, we will offer a full bundled solution to the end user and to our distributors, where they can buy hardware, software and connectivity—all in one package, from one company. We’re very excited, because it speeds our time to market, and it brings what we feel is a best-of-class antenna with a best-of-class service together under one umbrella.”
Rob Weitendorf, managing partner at Lepton Global Solutions, agreed.
“We at Lepton are very, very excited about the Kymeta marriage,” Weitendorf said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.
Weitendorf said that he is especially optimistic about Kymeta’s new U8 antenna, which is designed to support both satellite and cellular connectivity in a single form factor.
“When we look at the new technology—the U8, with the integration of this cellular capability—the customers that we’re talking to are very, very excited about this,” Weitendorf said. “They think it’s something that’s been needed for a long time and is really going to fill a gap in the marketplace.
“When you combine the networks that we’ve developed over the last five years and the new technology from Kymeta, it’s really a win-win. It made a lot of sense for both of our companies to come together and offer this great package of not only hardware, but services and that solution that the customers have been looking for.”
Marks said the U8 is expected to be commercially available in October, as prototypes of the new antenna are being used in the field today.
“We fully expect this antenna to be a lot better than our first antenna—just like all technologies,” Marks said. “The first antenna was Ku-satellite only. This U8 that comes out in October is a hybrid antenna. The antenna will seamlessly switch between cellular networks and satellite networks, so that the customer always has the best network delivering capacity to it.
“Connectivity is incredibly important. And, if connectivity in remote locations is very important, then the hybrid solution is the right one, because you don’t have to worry, ‘Does a cell tower work here?’ If a cell tower doesn’t work, the satellite works, and the satellite has high throughput, as well.”
One example of this is the U.S. Forest Service, which is demonstrating the U8, according to Marks.
“When they’re fighting forest fires out in the middle of nowhere, all of their devices that they carry work, because the satellite antenna becomes the communication hub for their iPhones and every other device,” he said. “So, out in the middle of nowhere, all of those devices connect to our antenna through Wi-Fi, and all of those devices connect to the rest of the world through satellite.”
“Even though there’s not a cell tower within 40 miles, it’s a seamless experience for the U.S. Forest Service.”
Another example would be the U.S. military, which offers an even more challenging usage scenario.
“They may install the antenna in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and then ship a vehicle to the Middle East,” Marks said. “They fully expect, when that vehicle rolls off of the plane, that the satellite connectivity is going to work.
“The acquisition of Lepton gives us the assurance that, when that terminal and that vehicle leaves the United States and goes someplace else, as soon as they turn it on, it will find an active satellite that provides coverage, and the U.S. Army’s solution works, no matter where they go.”
Kymeta President and COO Walter Berger also noted Lepton Global Solutions’ strengths while expressing optimism about future prospects.
“Having a turnkey satellite service provider like Lepton accelerates Kymeta’s ability to successfully penetrate U.S. Military and Government customers in partnership with a well-established brand, deep channel experience, and network support for those verticals,” Berger said in a prepared statement. “The combination of Kymeta’s revolutionary hardware, together with Leptons’ service offerings, will be a winning combination that will be hard to beat.”
Many company acquisitions result in significant personnel layoffs, but Marks said he does not believe that will be the case with Kymeta and Lepton Global Solutions.
“I think it’s a situation in which not only do we keep everybody, but I think it will propel us to growth pretty quickly,” Marks said. “The combination of the two companies is pretty powerful, and it should lead to substantial growth in the near future.”