Advanced Television

Report: Who benefits from T-Mobile, SpaceX deal?

August 31, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Northern Sky Research (NSR) has cast its eye over a new scheme which brought together mega-satellite operator SpaceX along with cellular giant T-Mobile to deliver two-way connectivity between SpaceX and mobile users around the world.

NSR, in a note to clients, said “this will be an innovative additional feature for the network, but also asks “how real is this market opportunity? What are the technology enablers/challenges? Will this cannibalise telco/satellite revenues? Who is ahead in this race?”

They are all valid questions. NSR states that currently non-geostationary wholesale revenues are likely worth around $38.5 billion cumulatively ten years from now. But it also suggests that ‘Direct satellite to device’ market could be worth well over $66 billion.

“From a satellite perspective, the direct satellite-to-device opportunity is transformational. Traditionally, satellites required proprietary and expensive equipment, and the convenience level was far from terrestrial alternatives. With the ability to communicate with mainstream devices, the cost of the terminal and the service will not be a factor anymore as users already own it for their Mobile Network Operator (MNO) plans. Thus, this reduces barriers to entry for consumers. But, more importantly, the satellite industry has typically lacked the scale to develop mass market sales channels and, with this new model, wholesale agreements with MNOs will suffice to reach billions of subscribers. Signing up for a satellite service will be as simple as roaming to another network when travelling internationally,” said NSR.

Moreover, NSR said that the market could have almost 390 million subscribers.

“If one adds the potential in IoT services, which will also benefit from the same Direct-to-sensor capabilities, this is undoubtedly the largest opportunity in satcom’s history,” added NSR.

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