New industry partnerships between mobile operators and satellite vendors driving new use cases and service launches
Rural and enterprise broadband is driving the early commercialisation of 5G non-terrestrial networks, according to the latest GSA research. The new report, 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks and Satellite Connectivity, shows while a total of 38 operators in 29 countries and territories are planning satellite services, satellite broadband services for rural and enterprise use cases accounts are being planned, evaluated and tested in 27 of these markets. Of these, by the end of March 2023, three markets had launched services, four more are currently evaluating, testing or trialling them and 20 are currently in the planning stages.
GSA has identified 49 publicly announced partnerships between mobile operators and satellite vendors across 34 countries and territories, led by SES, OneWeb and SpaceMobile with nine mobile operator partnerships each. Overall, 10 countries and territories have satellite providers offering broadband, voice and data or satellite-to cellphone technology. Currently the United States, with its very large space industry, has the highest number of providers at 11.
Full details, including a look at the road map to 3GPP-defined satellite networks with services beginning to launch later in 2023, are included in the report 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks and Satellite Connectivity (May 2023), which can be downloaded here https://gsacom.com/paper/5g-non-terrestrial-networks-may-2023/ (registration required).
“The role of satellite is rapidly gaining prominence in the world of cellular communication as mobile operators look for complementary solutions to support the business case for 5G in challenging terrain and specific use cases. As the technology evolves and more industry partnerships are established, the potential for satellite networks to supplement and enhance terrestrial 5G networks will become increasingly clear,” said Joe Barrett, President of Global mobile Suppliers Association. “However, the cost of satellite service plans, driven by the need to purchase expensive equipment and terminals, makes it an ecosystem-wide challenge for vendors. Although uses for satellites are currently limited, this evolving industry is taking its first step toward long-term growth, and it is a market GSA will continue to track.”
The use cases where satellite technology can complement mobile operators’ 5G offering, and which are included in the report, have been categorised by GSA as follows:
The full report, 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks and Satellite Connectivity (May 2023), can be downloaded here https://gsacom.com/paper/5g-non-terrestrial-networks-may-2023/ (registration required). The highlights of the data were also shared in a GSA Snapshot Webinar by the GSA research team, which can be viewed on-demand here: https://gsacom.com/webinar/5g-ntn-and-the-status-of-satellite-connectivity/
About the data
This report draws on public information collected by the GSA, focusing on the number of announced mobile network operator and satellite provider partnerships; uses; commercial status; geographic availability; and frequency bands being earmarked for non-terrestrial network (NTN) use.
GSA is the voice of the global mobile ecosystem representing companies engaged in the supply of infrastructure, semiconductors, test equipment, devices, applications and mobile support services. The organisation plays a central role in promoting 3GPP technology, advocating spectrum policies and stimulating IMT industry development. The association is a single source of information for industry reports and market intelligence.
The GSA GAMBoD database is a unique search and analysis tool that has been developed to enable searches of LTE and 5G devices and new global data on Mobile Broadband Networks, Technologies and Spectrum (NTS). Results are presented as a list or in charts. Charts may be inserted into documents or presentations, subject to accreditation of GSA as the source.
GAMBoD is a resource dedicated to promoting the success and growth of the Mobile Broadband (MBB) industry and ecosystem and is fully available to all employees of GSA Executive and Ordinary Member companies and GSA Associates who subscribe to the service. More information on GAMBoD is available here: https://gsacom.com/gambod/