Satellite operators are at a crossroads due to a rapid revolution in satellite capacity provisioning worldwide. The satellite capacity industry was originally dominated by recurring, high-margin video applications, but its focus has now shifted to high-growth, data-centric services. A range of fixed and mobile data applications now dominate the growth story via numerous capacity types, orbits and ultimately, business.
Direct-to-device made a huge splash in satellite last year. First, with Starlink’s partnership with T-Mobile to expand coverage through its 2nd generation constellation. Apple followed not long after, investing $450 million into a similar deal with Globalstar. AST Space Mobile’s BlueWalker-3 satellite launched, unfolding its 700 square foot antenna to test technologies for an upcoming.
Unlike technically proven (FSS-band) LEO-HTS satcom constellations requiring communication terminals, these new initiatives aim to deliver on the promise of direct satellite-to-regular-handset communications through cellular and MSS spectrum in areas unreachable by existing cell towers. Yet, architectural facets drive a wide set of capabilities ranging from asynchronous emergency texting to continuous voice and broadband data connectivity.