Study: 5G will transform satellite communications

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Northern Sky Research (NSR), in its latest study, says that the adoption of 5G will be transformational for many aspects of the Satcom ecosystem: from stimulating demand in many segments, seamlessly integrating Satcoms in the mainstream Telco ecosystem or becoming a tool for optimising Satellite Network design and operations.

“In fact,” says NSR, “The waves of 5G will resonate across the entire value chain with new business models and opportunities leveraging virtualisation, standardised service orchestration or 5G NR.” The good news is that potential for revenue growth is extraordinary. NSR forecasts in its 5G via Satellite: Impacts, Demand and Revenue Potential report that 5G will generate $21 Billion in 2019-2029 cumulative FSS Capacity Revenue.

“What makes 5G so relevant for Satcom is that 5G has the vision to become a ‘Network of Networks’, allowing non-3GPP technologies (including Satellite) to be seamlessly integrated in the 5G core,” adds NSR.

The research company says that five years from now, when measuring the success of Satcom in the transition to 5G, Satellite should no longer be a separate or siloed ecosystem, becoming a transparent solution tightly integrated with mainstream deployments. Quantitatively, this translates into much higher adoption of Satcom services.

The IoT and handheld segments are worth special mentions, says NSR. “While 5G NR (access technology) might not be able to support the high throughput use cases, Satellite IoT and low data-rate use cases will be able to directly implement 5G NR in their networks. This is a game changer, opening a vast addressable market counted in Billions of devices. Leveraging mainstream chipsets and devices, terminal costs will decrease dramatically, and sales channels will instantly become global and ubiquitous.”

NSR’s ‘bottom line’ says that beyond its customer-facing impacts, “5G will have a huge impact on how networks are designed and operated. Adopting ‘5G core’ as the Network Management system will allow Satcom to seamlessly integrate with the mainstream Telco ecosystem, but it would also be a tool to optimally operate next generation satellite networks (VHTS, flexible satellites, constellations, etc.).”


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