The Bottom Line

May 23, 2019

Satellite Data Downlinking: The Case for Lasers

The last few years have seen increasing interest in space-based optical communications, driven by the convergence of multiple trends: rising small satellite data volumes, increasing security concerns and Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum congestion, to name a few.

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May 21, 2019

A 1st-Order Solution: More Broadband Maritime Vessels

The Maritime Satellite Communications market is at a crossroad; more capacity is available in all frequencies and orbits thanks to Iridium’s recently launched Certus plans, VSAT terminals are getting lighter and cheaper, and end-users continue to find value in some flavor of higher throughput connectivity.

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Monetizing IFC: The 3rd Party Promise

At the recent Satellite 2019 and the AIX 2019 conferences, there were many discussions centered on enhancing the passenger experience and, in the process, monetizing what is still today relatively low returns on IFC investments by airlines.

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May 16, 2019

GEO Life Extension: A Fit for Government?

Currently, there is much debate surrounding the viability of In-Orbit Servicing applications in the space industry. Despite some recent setbacks and perception of uncertainty surrounding upcoming IOS Services, GEO satellite life extension is garnering most interest out of all IOS offerings, and the demand is expected to increase over time. With government and military sector.

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May 15, 2019

A (LEO) Race to the Bottom?

With the satcom industry moving to network applications and integrated service business models, the price-demand equation has changed considerably over the last 5 years.

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May 8, 2019

When Will Optical Satcom See the Light?

As a technology with the potential to impact both satellite and ground network operators, optical satcom is emerging as a contender and/or a complement to existing radio frequency (RF) communications infrastructure.

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May 2, 2019

IFC Markets: Money Left on the Table?

The largest commercial airlines offer inflight connectivity on some portion of their aircraft.  In fact, most of them have some form of connectivity in service or under contract across their fleet, if not on the majority of their aircraft.

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April 23, 2019

Salvaging Future Intelsat 29e’s

The “Total loss” of a satellite like Intelsat 29e, just 3 years into its 15-year life, has 2 significant implications: the sunk cost of the satellite, in addition to over 12 years of potential revenues and 6,552 kg of uncooperative debris roaming uncontrolled in geostationary orbit.

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April 18, 2019

The Impact of Capacity Pricing on M&A and Investment Decisions

The satcom industry today relies on five major elements – Pricing (competition), Supply (indicating Asset worth), Demand (Growth), Break-even pricing (manufacturing innovation) and Ground System (efficiencies). While the economics of demand growth and ground system efficiencies have been proven to be more linear in the last several years, the same cannot be said for Supply.

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April 3, 2019

The Unintended Consequences of Smallsats

While the overall growth of the smallsat market is beneficial for the space economy as it is helping lower the barriers to entry and create new revenue streams in the (relatively) near term, the impact of this growth on the space ecosystem in the long term is less often discussed.

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March 20, 2019

4 Big Challenges for Emerging Space

With barriers to space market entry lowering considerably, and a supportive ecosystem growing, the emerging space market continues to attract interest with a flurry of activities across multiple applications. Falling technology costs and government support pushing for commercialization further aid this ecosystem, positioning it as both competition and a complement to traditional space incumbents. With.

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March 14, 2019

Satcom Future Hinges on Electronically-Steered FPAs

When the term “flat panel antenna” (FPA) is mentioned, most envision a completely flat, non-moving piece of communications technology. These systems, specifically electronically-steered antennas (ESAs), capable of faster tracking and pointing than parabolic ones, are seen as an impending necessity for satcom, especially given the soon-to-be full skies of LEO constellations. Interest and development in.

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February 26, 2019

FPAs: From a Niche to a Necessity

For years, the emerging nature of FPA technology has long maintained price and performance as the main market obstacles. Compared with parabolic systems, flat panel antennas were not seen as viable, except in environments requiring a low-profile solution.

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February 6, 2019

Are Satellite Handhelds Still a Growth Market?

Handheld telephones are a traditional, legacy of mobile satellite service, with these devices long used for remote satcom communications. However, in recent years, growth of handhelds has flatlined, driven by increased terrestrial connectivity, new alternatives and more versatile devices.  With the market undergoing increasing change, the L-band land mobile market of the past isn’t the.

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January 29, 2019

Adding Value When Capacity Commoditizes

In the traditional satcom business case dominated by video, the satellite and the orbital position were the core differentiators (multicast advantage, platform effects on DTH and Video Distribution). However, in a world that is increasingly dominated by data, raw satellite capacity is commoditizing and the new entities driving growth are networks. This has tremendous implications.

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January 23, 2019

Can Satellite Broadband Support the Streaming Wave?

Video is that largest consumer of bandwidth today and will increase exponentially over the long term –streaming video that is, not linear TV. As the industry moves from video in terms of cord-cutting to streaming data, the satellite play is still unclear when it comes to supporting services such as Netflix or Hulu. Today, there.

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January 16, 2019

UAS Imaging: Roadblocks and Opportunities

The use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) in the commercial world is still nascent and growing with drone technologies developing rapidly, be it with payload, energy or autonomous capabilities. Amongst the many applications being explored with UAS, ranging from delivery services to infrastructure development, imaging stands out as the frontrunner with a high interest.

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January 15, 2019

Terminal Troubles

Historically, Government & Military satcom markets have suffered from terminal troubles – too costly for AEHF, delayed for MUOS, a mismatch between terminal and frequency/network capabilities, etc. The list is as extensive as the terminal inventory of the U.S. Government, which is stated to be in the tens of thousands. Quite simply, the terminal trouble.

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January 13, 2019

Connected Buses & Trains: In the Express Lane?

There has been significant industry focus on the connected car via satellite, and whether satellite can have a significant role to play with private and government vehicles. However, what is oftentimes missing from the debate, is the prospect for connected trains and buses to be served via satellite. While the broadband connected car will present.

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January 9, 2019

Satcom in 2019: Leasing vs. Services & the Year Ahead

2018 emerged as an understatement compared to the hype generated by satellite operators. Revenue didn’t rebound according to expectations, pricing and backlog both declined across operators, and video finally showed no signs of further growth, as multiple operators posted revenue declines in video even with marginally increasing demand. Looking downstream, suffice it to say that.

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January 3, 2019

Earth Observation: Not Just Imagery

What’s next for satellite-based Earth Observation? Driven by technology and competition, the business has grown quickly in recent years. From imagery to insights, from single satellites to constellations, players along the value chain have pushed hard to offer unique services, and the market has diversified and expanded. In an industry dominated by optical and radar.

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December 18, 2018

EO SAR Imagery Prices Limit Opportunity

In theory, radar imagery for Earth Observation is far superior to optical. With imagery capable of capturing scenes at night and penetrating clouds, SAR overcomes many challenges inherent to imaging the Earth with passive optical sensors. It would seem that investors are banking on these capabilities for increased coverage and insights from SAR imagery given.

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December 11, 2018

Gov & Mil Markets: Is It All About the Frequency?

MILSATCOM or COMSATCOM has been one of the most contentious debates in the Gov & Mil Markets over the past five years.  On the surface, the debate is all about the economics of ownership – in the truest definition of economics – including all the opportunity costs associated with MILSATCOM networks.  Recent acquisition of 2.

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December 5, 2018

UAS: SATCOM in the High Skies

The Government & Military (Gov/Mil) market for satellite communications remains optimistic, with nations across the globe doubling down on defense spending to drive their own civilian and military government capabilities. Satcom will continue its rise as a central element here, as more governments move towards network centric asset deployments with data-intensive processes. At close to.

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December 3, 2018

Sorry LEOs, but FPAs Have No Incentive to Go Low-Cost

LEO constellations such as OneWeb or SpaceX continue to see Internet to the masses as a primary target market. However, for this market to materialize, the whole ecosystem must align, and antennas (among other elements) are still a big unresolved issue for consumer-grade services. In which direction are market forces and incentives pushing the development.

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NSR’s Satcom Financial Index 2018- Dissecting the Trends

Recent (Q2 or Q3) financial results have been a mixed bag for the industry. Video revenues have consistently declined on a YoY basis for most operators including Intelsat, Eutelsat, SES and EchoStar Satellite Services, while most operators have posted gains in network connectivity – most prominently in Government and mobile connectivity verticals, including ViaSat. To.

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November 19, 2018

A Price War Coming for Satcom IoT?

Satcom IoT is going from strength to strength, and not showing any signs of stopping, with NSR expecting growth to continue over the coming decade across a wide range of applications. However, on the horizon are many competing IoT network deployments that promise to significantly lower the cost of hardware and airtime costs associated with.

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November 18, 2018

EO Smallsat Market: Where to Go from Here?

These days, smallsats generate a lot of attention, from players raising millions of dollars, losing millions of dollars, or providing thousands of images to spy on Iranian oil smugglers.  Among the attention and potential, it is fair to say that the overall picture of the emerging EO smallsat market is sending mixed signals.  Smallsat operators,.

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November 14, 2018

Will Software-Defined Satellites Take Off?

In recent years, satellite operators have busied themselves finding new ways to deliver cost-competitive connectivity in response to evolving consumer demand and price expectations. On the satellite design side, this encompasses new architectures, multiple forms of heightened risk taking, and adoption of low or no heritage technologies. SES is pushing this process even further with.

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November 7, 2018

Turning the Satellite Business Model Upside-Down

The traditional satcom industry can be argued to be entering its third transition phase, after the FSS video boom until 2010 and the HTS influenced pricing decline more recently. With languishing growth in 2018, alongside declining EBITDA margins and backlog, the operator industry remains uncertain on video, while debating on the merits of going fully.

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November 6, 2018

Why the Optimism for Gov & Mil SATCOM?

With over $71B in cumulative retail revenues forecasted over the next ten years in our latest view on the market opportunity for Government and Military Satellite Communications, NSR is often asked:  Why the Optimism?  What has changed?  Where is the opportunity (for me)? To start answering those questions, we need to first examine the macro-level.

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October 31, 2018

Satcom IoT in a 5G World

For decades there has been a plethora of ways to connect M2M and IoT devices – satellite, GSM 2G, LTE, NB-IoT and LPWA. Satellite-based M2M has gone from strength to strength throughout the development of all these new forms of IoT connectivity. With a 5G world around the corner, will satellite-based M2M/IoT finally meet its.

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October 18, 2018

C-band Spectrum Reallocation: Too Lucrative to Ignore?

C-band reallocation debates between satellite operators and telecom providers aren’t new.  Mid C-band spectrum is seemingly ideal for low frequency applications and resistant to rain fade, with recent 5G technology promoters terming the 3.7-4.2 GHz spectrum as a sweet spot. This part of C-band traditionally has fallen under the purview of the larger 3.4-4.2 GHz.

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October 3, 2018

The ROI Challenge of IoT Smallsats

Smallsats for IoT are making noise in the press, with just this past week an announcement by a Luxembourg-based consortium for yet another smallsat IoT constellation. Myriota also raised another $15 million earlier this year, and many more similar announcements have been made. While “everything will be Internet connected and terrestrial only covers 10% of.

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October 1, 2018

The Asian Scale Paradox

Asia is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing regions for satellite communications. Raw market potential is massive combining poor terrestrial coverage, difficult geographies and buoying economies. Many players, both local and international, are looking to capture opportunities in the region as markets continue to be under-penetrated. Yet, there are significant roadblocks and hurdles that have.

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September 27, 2018

Insight-as-a-Service for Satellite Networks

The terrestrial telecom industry is fast shifting towards 5G networks, with Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) forming key parts of major strategic efforts. This is seen in multiple market movements where organizations such as Verizon, AT&T and Ericsson have begun to shift towards adopting SDN/NFV approaches to manage increasingly complex networks..

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September 19, 2018

Can OneWeb Cross the Valley of Death?

OneWeb, with its FCC filing approval in 2017, re-introduced the concept of offering global, affordable, high speed Internet with a bigger – and in some respects – better LEO satellite constellation than its predecessors. In terms of size and (advertised) capability, OneWeb is leading the LEO Constellations 2.0 era. In many ways, the future trends.

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September 11, 2018

Does Price Elasticity Exist for Satcom Markets?

Pricing has been the most painful headache for satellite operators for the last couple of years. Rapid erosion in pricing, coupled with lackluster top line demand, has led to widespread revenue declines. With the industry readying for the next tsunami of capacity supply coming from LEO constellations and VHTS, pricing is unlikely to rebound anytime.

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September 5, 2018

Satellite Big Data 3L’s: Location, Location, Location

An epithet for the real estate industry, this might as well describe the satellite big data (SBD) market. With the drive for digitization spanning multiple verticals, the need for satellite-based analytics solutions will only increase in the coming years. That said, such solutions find greatest potential in applications where the spatial component of data is.

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September 4, 2018

Merchant Matters… A Lot

While a lot of attention has been given to the bandwidth battles in the cruise industry, it is easy to forget that merchant maritime is the bread and butter of the maritime satcom market.  With all facets of the market looking to improve operations, adding more digitalization and automation into their operations, the need for.

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August 21, 2018

Milking the “Cow” or Shooting for the “Stars”

In these times of declining revenues and uncertainty, satellite operators are very cautions when choosing their future strategy and committing to large CAPEX investments (i.e. reduced number of GEO Satcom orders). With the current pivot towards new revenue drivers and the emergence of new architectures, technologies and business models, operators are in front of one.

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August 20, 2018

Satellite Big Data: A Growth Story

The evolution of technology underlies a few key trends that have the satellite industry poised for change. Advances in computing power in the Earth Observation (EO) segment have led analytics providers to enter and vie to capture new vertical markets, ranging from forestry to finance. Added to this, there is a proliferation of digital technologies.

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August 16, 2018

Cruising for Higher Throughputs

As the end of summer nears, the cruise industry ‘big season’ is in full swing.  With over 100 new ocean-going cruise ships expected to enter the market over the next ten years, and the ‘always-on’ life-style of travelers these days – the bandwidth demand (and revenue potential) for cruise connectivity is growing significantly. From 300.

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August 14, 2018

Business Jets: Broadband Connectivity Unleashed

The business jet community’s annual ‘grand mass’ in Europe held in late May this year rumbled with positivism about the status of the industry going forward.  Following many years of ups and downs, observers and stakeholders held the view that the industry was well on its way to a full recovery.  These good signs are.

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August 2, 2018

Satellite Constellations: Too Much of a Good Thing?

LEO constellations, theoretically, benefit from economies of scale which, in simple terms, is the cost saving associated with the increased level of production. The advantages come in the form of discounts for bulk orders and higher production volume as a result of specialized resources – human and otherwise, to name a few. While the benefits.

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July 30, 2018

EO Investment Picture: Worth More Than a Thousand Words

The Earth Observation (EO) market has been in constant evolution and recently, it has transitioned from costly, large EO satellites to smaller, more nimble ones flying as part of constellations. Using many small satellites is enabling real-time earth monitoring and observation, and with this, increasingly large amounts of data are being produced every day. Additionally,.

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July 25, 2018

Satellite EOL: Not One Size Fits All

As the technological prowess of satellite component and prime manufacturers has developed over the past half century, satellites have increased not only in capabilities but in longevity. A satellite launched in the 1990s was designed to operate for an average 12 years, a life expectancy that by the 2000s increased to 15 years. Many continue.

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July 23, 2018

Profiling Maritime Customers to Stay Afloat

Maritime markets have long been labelled the ‘sleeping giant’ of mobility satcom. Not as driven as in-flight connectivity, nor as full of potential as the connected car, maritime in years past seemed quite content to stay on its slow and steady growth course. However, falling capacity prices, new form factors and possibilities from analytics as.

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July 19, 2018

Airlines to Take IFC Controls

Despite the common notion that Wi-Fi is free, there remain ‘havens’ where it is still a fee-based service.  In-flight connectivity (IFC) is one such market, and recent news shows it will remain a paying service for many passengers as more airlines takes control over it. Directing connectivity and bandwidth services, with more freedom on setting.

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July 17, 2018

More (Satcom) Bits for More Barrels

As digitalization continues to move across the O&G sector, new sources and production capacity continues to come online.  “Big Data” and real-time data are fundamentally transforming the how of Oil & Gas exploration & production – pushing more bi-directional transfer of information from well to HQ.  With all of this data information, VSAT Broadband connectivity.

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July 10, 2018

Enabling a GEO-NGEO Hybrid System

The Military segment has, historically, primarily been served by GEO satellites for execution of critical applications, including intelligence gathering, navigation and communication. GEO systems, by nature, offer the advantage of significant coverage via a single satellite, especially with the advent of GEO-HTS satellites. On the other hand, latency and significant CAPEX have always been limitations.

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Emerging Space: The $5 Billion Question

NSR’s Emerging Space Market Opportunity (ESMO) report explored global investment in players driving the development of new applications and approaches to the space industry. Most companies studied started small, delivering innovative products or ideas addressing an existing need or developing a new market niche. Except for a successful minority, most remain at the research and.

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June 25, 2018

The New World Space Powers: China & India

China and India have engaged in space activities since the mid-1900s, developing domestic satellite manufacturing and launch capabilities across a range of applications. Both have focused on national demand, with limited international commercial pursuits. Yet this dynamic is quickly changing. The two nations have heightened their scope of activities, leveraging space as a strategic tool.

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June 21, 2018

IFC Going the Wrong Way?

Wrong: in an unsuccessful or unfortunate way or out of working order or condition These two definitions offered by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary could aptly describe what many believe is the quality and state of inflight connectivity in general today.  But is this the right way to think of a business on a slow but definite upward.

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June 19, 2018

Energy Satcom Markets: Digitalization Digs In

The mining industry, which has so far remained the smallest addressable market for the energy satcom providers, is gradually morphing into a growth opportunity for satellite connectivity. On the heels of the last commodities downswing, globally diversified miners are focused on increasing productivity and maximizing the value of their existing assets, while newer mining juniors.

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June 18, 2018

AT&T – Time Warner Merger Raises Eyebrows

The approved merger of AT&T and Time Warner is an interesting and multi-faceted case to analyze because it is not just shaped by converging trends modulating telecoms, media and Internet businesses but also by an evolving regulatory framework, telecom-Internet players’ power balance and even U.S. politics. The sheer size of the merger raises eyebrows but.

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June 7, 2018

How Launch Rates Shape Markets

Following the launch of the Gaofen 6 satellite last weekend, China matched – and three days later surpassed – its 2017 launch rate a mere 5 months into the year. If China achieves its planned cadence to exceed 40 launches in 2018, it would more than double last year’s total and quadruple the rate of.

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May 31, 2018

Don’t Give Up on Streaming

New trends in video consumption are challenging traditional satellite video platforms. Emergence of OTT and video streaming is starting to have an impact on subscriber counts and, consequently, on the value satellite operators can generate and capture from their assets. However, satellite continues to be the best solution for reaching large audiences, especially when terrestrial.

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May 21, 2018

Non-GEO Constellations: Surviving the Disruption

Iridium and Globalstar arguably disrupted the telecommunication industry with the launch of their respective LEO satellite constellations. As the legacy players of this arena, they experienced first-hand the challenges that come with, and historically, predominantly outweigh the benefits expected from the implementation of large satellite communications constellations. In the last decade, lessons learned from these.

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May 10, 2018

The “Other” Energy Satcom Markets

With attention in the Energy Industry typically focused on the Oil & Gas sector, it is sometimes easy to forget how satcom connectivity is shaping up in other sectors, such as Electrical Utilities.  Utilizing 6 out of every 10 in-service units within the Energy satcom sector, the Electrical Utility segment continues to show signs of.

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May 8, 2018

Satellite and the Arrival of Telecom Pricing?

The advent of bulk HTS satellite capacity has changed the satcom game. Irreversibly. What started as an alternative to FSS, an innovation with frequency re-use spot beams, has become mainstream and dictated price changes for at least the past 2 years. 60% wholesale price drop across HTS verticals, most prominently for backhaul and consumer broadband,.

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May 3, 2018

Regulatory Barriers Limiting Cellular Backhaul

Satellite Backhaul has historically relied heavily on coverage obligations to attract demand. Consequently, regulators were the primary driver for demand in this vertical. However, if satcom is to capture the massive opportunities in this vertical while bridging the digital divide, it should be able to serve commercially-driven sites. In this new paradigm, legacy regulations and.

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April 30, 2018

Maritime Satcom: The Makings of an FPA Case Study

Flat panel antennas have great potential to expand the satcom addressable market but remain one of the least developed aspects of the industry. Despite high demand for low-profile solutions for certain applications, and several hundred million dollars of R&D spent to date without much results, FPAs are still struggling to carve their niche. Some verticals,.

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April 19, 2018

No Pain, No Gain: Activating Demand Elasticity

The state of play is clear: satellite capacity pricing continues to fall at an accelerated pace, and satellite operators are unable to generate sufficient additional demand, leading to revenue declines. Upcoming larger GEO-HTS systems, NGSO constellations and simply put, technology evolution, will continue driving prices down. In this context, (when) will demand elasticity reverse this.

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April 15, 2018

State of the Satellite Industry – The NSR FSS Index

Much has been commented about the current state of the industry: capacity oversupply, declining capacity prices, a shift to service businesses to strengthen top-line revenue, partnerships with end-customers, and consolidation necessity to future-proof. After a careful study of the past few years, it is certain that most trends are true – reflecting operator strategies as.

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April 10, 2018

HAPs and Mishaps

Some of the best characteristics form airborne and satellite systems can be implemented into HAPs to provide a range of apps, but mishaps remain a challenge that operators and manufacturers need to overcome. Google Loon, Worldview Enterprises, and Raven Aerostar are the three most prominent names in the High-Altitude Balloons market, and they have demonstrated.

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April 5, 2018

Pumping the Brakes on the Connected Car

The connected car is one of the most talked about opportunities for satellite-based flat panel antennas, yet it remains elusive and still many years away from being realized. With millions of vehicles entering the market every year, the successful deployment of the connected car via satellite could be very lucrative for FPA manufacturers. However, NSR.

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April 3, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities: Beijing vs. Washington’s Space Policy

Space is both a frontier to conquer and an arena where superpowers collide. The space economy has commercial implications that boost a country’s global standing as well as military interests that provide key strategic advantages. China has entered or has ushered in a new space race, pitting itself against the United States. How are the.

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March 28, 2018

Grasping the In-orbit Servicing Opportunity

As the space industry looks towards a future built on diverse and resilient architectures, rapidly evolving demand, fast technology development, and multifaceted economic activity in-orbit and beyond, servicing spacecraft is a key capability to bring along for the ride. Applications envisioned have the potential to both ease historic pain points for satellite operators and open.

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March 27, 2018

The Satellite Capacity Price Conundrum

The satellite industry has witnessed a meltdown over the past few years with capacity prices falling over 30-60% across most verticals. This decline doesn’t just stem from increased supply and competition, but also from critical intertwined factors: increased bargaining power of service providers (SPs) as operators dilute their market positions for aggressive selling and a.

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March 22, 2018

With Smallsats, Can 1+1 = 3?

Attendance at last week’s SATELLITE 2018 in Washington, D.C. demonstrated the expansion of the traditionally GEO communications focused satellite industry to a more diverse collection of players and applications. Discussions of broadband connectivity, the potential of Big Data, and cost reduction involved established and emerging players alike, with smallsats entering the dialogue more than ever.

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March 14, 2018

Scaling Up FPAs

The satellite communications industry faces a considerable challenge ahead: deploying the ground segment to tap into the huge bandwidth coming from future systems. So much so that many of the discussions at the Satellite 2018 conference underway in Washington, D.C. center on the ground segment with announcements from ViaSat, GetSAT, Kymeta, and other manufacturers. While.

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March 7, 2018

China’s LEO Constellation Ambitions

In late-February 2018, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced plans to build a constellation of 300 small satellites in LEO for global communications and other services. The Hongyan (translated as “wild goose”) constellation, which is targeted to be operational by 2021, was originally designed for 60 satellites. The current plan expands to.

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March 6, 2018

CAPEX Delayed is CAPEX Saved…

With Space Logistics, LLC (Orbital ATK) landing its 2nd customer and Effective Space Solutions its 1st, interest in In-Orbit Servicing (IoS) is making a comeback, conceivably to stay this time. In theory, IoS presents diverse opportunities, from extending satellite life and transporting it to the correct orbit in the near term, to repairs and potentially.

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March 1, 2018

Innovation or Disruption Ahead for Gov & Mil Markets?

In a few weeks, the satellite industry will gather in Washington DC for the annual Satellite show.  Set in the backyard of one of the largest consumers of commercial satellite capacity in the world, the show will focus on the “What’s New and What’s Next” – a constantly changing conversation in the space industry.  However,.

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February 15, 2018

The Push & Pull of Satellite Servicing

Satellite servicing technologies have long been in development, only now coalescing into integrated systems ready to hit the market.  Just this year, life extension services have been contracted for three satellites, adding to two other deals already finalized. This process has been a combination of technology push from manufacturers and start-ups alongside indirect market pull.

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February 8, 2018

Will Consumer Broadband Take-Off in Emerging Markets?

Consumer Broadband has been one of the biggest success stories for the satellite industry. Millions of subscribers have signed-up in North America, which paradoxically faces one of the strongest competition from ground alternatives. With multiple actors now looking to replicate the model internationally, including areas with lower disposable incomes, will the growth story continue? With.

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February 6, 2018

Are Smallsats Delivering?

Ever since Skybox Imaging and then Planet Labs hit the news headlines, smallsats have been lauded as the future of the space industry, portrayed in the mainstream media as enabling novel applications, making space accessible, and delivering a new paradigm. Perception within the industry has been more mixed, but commercial and government players alike broadly.

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February 1, 2018

GovSat-1 – A New Capacity Model to Follow?

As GovSat-1 transitions into its operational orbital position, the Government & Military market is seeing renewed investments into next-generation government-owned MILSATCOM systems and customized commercial offerings for end-users as the market find itself in the middle of a period of renewed growth. On the Government-only capacity market, GovSat-1 is nearing the end of a chain.

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January 26, 2018

EO Constellations: Virtual or Reality?

Satellite constellations is one of the most exciting trends in the Earth Observation (EO) market today. Insight-hungry end-users are demanding more data, more often, and look to current and upcoming fleets of satellites to provide it. Investment and launch availability continue to grow, with constellations under development for satellites both big and small. However, another.

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January 17, 2018

Meaningful Smallsat M&As

The smallsat manufacturing and components market has developed somewhat haphazardly – a combination of post-university projects, commercial start-ups, and established companies growing into the smallsat business – producing a multitude of players in an increasingly competitive market. M&A is the natural consequence for this young market as it matures and companies seek to consolidate market.

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January 15, 2018

What’s Special About V-band?

Apart from being lightly licensed and allocated, very little(!) In fact.  Being in a higher frequency range compared to Ku-band or Ka-band, V-band is more susceptible to rain fade, presenting technical and market challenges compared to current solutions.  More importantly, apart from experimental payloads and systems on the ground to support such trials, ecosystem development.

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January 10, 2018

Gov & Mil Markets: An Evolving Capacity Acquisition Paradigm

As the satellite industry and the U.S. Government start to kick things off for a New Year, planners continue the process of creating the next-generation of Gov & Mil network designs.  With a renewed focus on the importance of space to executing the national security missions of countries across the globe – and ‘assured access’.

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January 8, 2018

Maintaining Relevance for Satellite TV

While many actors in the satcom scene have turned their focus to data markets, the reality is that video continues to generate over 50% of overall satellite capacity revenues. OTT and other alternatives are slowly impacting DTH offers such that satellite needs to evolve to stay relevant. The set-top-box (STB) is at the forefront of.

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January 3, 2018

The Hidden Risks of Verticalization

In these transformational times for the satellite industry, the value chain is contracting, creating new tensions in the ecosystem. Factors such as the emergence of HTS, the severe pressure on raw capacity pricing or the growth in new verticals like mobility are only accelerating this trend. Multiple Service Providers are already complaining about Satellite Operators.

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December 13, 2017

Earth Observation: Analytics-as-a-Service

Satellite-based Earth Observation (EO) is changing from an imagery-driven to insight-driven business. Until now, most satellite operators have been content with supplying imagery, while emerging downstream companies have begun unlocking the value behind the pixel, through Big Data analytics. However, satellite operators are beginning to shift focus. Last month, Planet completed “Mission 1”, to image.

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December 7, 2017

L-band Driving the Connected Car

The Connected Car is a hot topic, with vehicles rapidly changing from internal combustion machines on wheels to computers on wheels. Connectivity requirements are increasing for the current generation of cars, and consumers expect greater levels of sophistication in the ‘digital car’ than ever before. With much of this connectivity currently served by cellular networks,.

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November 30, 2017

MNOs & Satellite: Best “Frenemies”

Consumer Broadband has emerged as a “killer app” for the satellite industry with millions of subscribers to be added around the globe in the coming years. Much criticism has been posed over the sustainability of the model and how mobile operators might turn to be a major threat given its competing broadband products. However, the.

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November 21, 2017

Shaking the Space Industry from the Ground (Segment)

The satellite industry is innovating at an extraordinary pace with satellites hosting orders of magnitude more capacity each generation and at much lower bandwidth prices. This is certainly opening new opportunities but, at the end of the day, it is not bandwidth that matters but what can be done with that connectivity. VSAT platforms, and.

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November 14, 2017

Turning up the Volume in EO Imagery

Satellite imagery has traditionally been sold by the scene. Customers would look at certain criteria, and satellite operators would match their request with available archived or tasked images. Sales cycles were long, and the focus was on the quality and the resolution of the data. However, increasing supply, and pressure from downstream services are prompting.

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October 31, 2017

Diverging Requirements for M2M/IoT Satcom

The M2M/IoT via satellite market has traditionally been one of low data rates, providing M2M end users with tremendous value from small data packets for the purposes of location tracking, temperature monitoring and myriad other applications. Traditionally most M2M usage has consumed very miniscule amounts of data, compared to nearly all other kinds of applications,.

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October 12, 2017

Scratching Our Heads over IoT-Dedicated Smallsats

The satellite-based M2M market is a comparatively small percentage of the overall market for M2M services.  However, with tens of billions of M2M devices expected to be brought into existence over the coming decade, the overall number of satellite-based M2M devices has potential to be significant. As NSR examines in its M2M and IoT via.

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October 10, 2017

Asia & the Age of High Throughput PrideSats

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR The Asian satellite telecomm market has for some time been relatively fragmented. Several countries with comparatively small populations, or comparatively small economies, or both, have launched their own satellites, with these programs having varying levels of commercial motivation. However, due to spectrum.

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October 6, 2017

Threats at Sea: From Pirates to Hackers

The industry has turned its focus on cybersecurity challenges facing the maritime satellite communications sector in recent months.  It will also be a central topic for an upcoming NSR presentation at DigitalShip’s Maritime Cyber Resilience Forum in Hamburg. The increasing digitalization and connectivity available and expected to be in the industry over the next ten.

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October 3, 2017

Where is the Emerging Space Opportunity?

Buzzwords such as New Space, Space 2.0, Emerging Space, applied to new, nimble, innovative, and atypical activities, encompass companies grouped together due to their approach. Fueled by the Silicon Valley-mindset and PR, the distinctions between these players and their investment can be a challenge to identify. Yet it is within these distinctions that lay the.

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September 25, 2017

Planet’s Dove: Agile or Fragile?

The rise of Space 2.0 is embodied by the large-scale use of nanosatellite constellations, packaged in an agile aerospace model to challenge the traditional practice of developing large satellites. At the heart of this model lays the principle of learning and developing satellites, “On-The-Job”.  With Planet recently launching 48 Doves on the Soyuz rocket, the.

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September 22, 2017

A European Defence System in Space

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR The political landscape surrounding the European Union and ever-closer militarization amongst its Member States is a complex and divisive topic. However, public opinion has shifted more favorably towards the idea of sharing some of the burden, especially for those countries that may.

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September 21, 2017

Emerging Space: Is Perception Reality?

Viewed through the 2017 press reel, the emerging space market is vibrant, novel, and changing the face of the space industry. Indeed, hot on the heels of SoftBank’s $1.2B investment in OneWeb in December 2016, Planet’s acquisition of Terra Bella, Thuraya and Iridium’s partnerships with smallsat constellation operators, SES’s contract for an O3b expansion, and.

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September 19, 2017

Pricing the Satellite Markets Part II

Satellite business models have traditionally relied on incumbent technology and DTH demand. The advent of satellite broadband demand, rush for acquiring market share in aero and backhaul verticals and instances of rapid price deterioration of satellite capacity – indicate a shift in these business models. Today’s growth model signifies a fluidity between the lease and.

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September 18, 2017

An Entire World on the Ground

The satellite industry is at the cusp of a major transformation and, despite attracting less hype than other elements of the industry, the Ground Segment must play a primary role in opening new markets. The opportunity is also extraordinary, according to NSR’S Commercial Satellite Ground Segment 2nd Edition report, with annual equipment revenues surpassing $15.3.

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September 13, 2017

Maritime Satcom: Grow or Eat the Pie?

In the midst of  ‘Apple-mania’, two important announcements in the satcom business were made that are key to the future development of the Maritime satcom market.  SES announced its ‘next generation’ MEO-centric network architecture called mPOWER and Kymeta’s sea trials in the Super Yacht sector for its KyWay terminal were concluded.  Both are significant because.

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September 12, 2017

The In-Flight Connectivity Give Away

In the race to gain more customers for its onboard Wi-Fi service, airlines are following a path that could be surprisingly efficient to generating more revenues: they are giving it away.  That is, partially. Indeed, the hope is that some free airtime will lead passengers to get hooked and pay for continued or better service..

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September 7, 2017

Fixing Up the FSS Market

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR When looking at future growth opportunities for satellite operators, most revenue growth will come from HTS, with this corresponding to the significant amount of HTS capacity entering the market over the coming years. However, as NSR shows in its Global Satellite Capacity.

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August 22, 2017

Pricing the Satellite Markets

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR   Satcom markets have traditionally been defined through DTH and remote connectivity use cases, along with an oligopolistic value chain and an upstream B2B lease market where-in the EBITDA margins of satellite operators can be the envy of many markets. The past.

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August 9, 2017

Cruising Down the Value-Chain

Just how many dollars are down the maritime VSAT Value Chain?  The talk amongst nearly every facet of the maritime VSAT market are satellite operators moving closer and closer to selling directly to the end-user – and there are some very visible moves to that effect from players outside the traditionally called-out Inmarsat. Looking at.

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August 3, 2017

Bulking Up the Business Case for GEO-HTS

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR The phrase high throughput satellite can at times understate the extent to which HTS technology is indeed a great leap forward for satcom. Traditional FSS wide-beam satellites have tended to see a capacity of around 20-50x 36 MHz transponder equivalents (TPEs), which.

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Straw “Poll” Shows: Polar Supply Remains a Niche

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR   The polar regions have for good reason historically attracted a very small amount of investment from satellite operators and service providers. As NSR examines in its Polar Satellite Markets, 2nd Edition (PSM2), the majority of capacity over the Polar regions has.

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July 6, 2017

Drilling for Arctic Opportunities

Some of the world’s largest untapped ore, oil, and gas deposits lie underneath the Arctic, with this for years having been touted as a potential opportunity for international and national oil companies, and mining companies alike. Despite myriad challenges to access these resources, this nonetheless represents a potentially large long-term demand source for communications infrastructure..

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June 22, 2017

The How and What of Big Data via Satellite

As anyone attending a “mobility” satellite-communications centric conference can attest (such as the recent Global Connected Aircraft Conference in DC), IoT is THE big buzz-word. It permeates conversations, presentations, and marketing materials.  And, for good reason! There are tremendous opportunities within the transportation sector for satellite players to offer services and connectivity to enable these.

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June 15, 2017

Non-GEO Game Plans and Financial Play

The satcom market is rife with innovative ideas and constellations targeting backhaul, mobility, consumer broadband and government verticals. In response to this proliferation of business models, traditional satellite operators are getting involved in various capacities to tap into the demand landscape, which can be accessed through LEO or MEO fleets. These GEO-MEO-LEO tie-ups occur while.

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April 27, 2017

Demystifying Satellite Big Data

Data has been called the oil of the digital economy, and the power of Big Data analytics has rapidly caught up among various sectors of economic activity, including the satellite industry. Satellites are undoubtedly a source of Big Data, orbiting the Earth and generating petabytes of sensor data every day. However, the complexity of accessing.

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April 25, 2017

Video Compression – Killing the Golden Goose?

The linear TV market, comprising DTH and Video Distribution, remains the greatest revenue driver of the satellite industry.  This will not change in the foreseeable future, although high growth rates of the past are more or less over. Seemingly perpetual growth is making way for longer term stability globally in terms of capacity leased. The.

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April 18, 2017

Asian Satellite Market Update

This week saw the successful launch of the fourth Inmarsat Global Xpress satellite. This launch was noteworthy because the company, by virtue of successfully launching the first three, has already achieved global HTS coverage. The coverage of the fourth—planned to address areas of high demand—has been a topic of much speculation over the past year.

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April 4, 2017

The Cost of Growth

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR   Satellite operators have for some time enjoyed what the rest of the telecom industry might call “out of this world” EBITDA margins, and strong profit margins to boot. Operating in a niche market—for context, the combined revenues of the 10 largest.

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March 23, 2017

Satellite Video Markets in State of Flux

Video broadcast for both DTH and Video Distribution has historically been the mainstay of FSS demand, with long term contracts and stable capacity demand growth ever continuing. However, with significant changes in consumer entertainment markets over the last number of years, including OTT and expanding terrestrial Internet speeds, what will be the impact to the.

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November 16, 2016

The Keys to SmallSat Launchers

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR   Emerging commercial small satellite (smallsat) launch vehicles are full of promise, but reliability is key in the government sector. – Government customers prefer reliable government or traditionally government-oriented contractor launch service providers despite potential cost savings using unproven emerging commercial launchers..

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October 13, 2016

Smallsat Launchers: Missing Business Fundamentals

Redirected to subject matter Research Director – original author no longer with NSR   “Space is hard,” is a common refrain from the aerospace industry after negative news, as if to differentiate aerospace business from any other business. But this false separation ignores the fundamentals that encourage success in any industry: a solid business plan,.

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