Report: Starlink already disruptive
April 19, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Elon Musk’s Starlink is already causing disruption in the satellite communications industry, according to a report from Northern Sky Research (NSR).
NSR’s Starlink Feasibility: Business Model and ROI Analysis examines the health of Starlink’s business and assesses the sustainability of its business model. For example, it suggests that Starlink will move firmly into overall RoI positive territory in 2026,
Starlink’s rapid pace of satellite launches, and broadband subscriber acquisition has caused disruption in the Satellite Communications industry. As a result, NSR says it is essential for industry stakeholders to understand the factors that affect Starlink’s value proposition and assess the sustainability of its business model.
The NSR study compares and contrasts 84 Leo and MEO constellation orbital shells and the report covers 142,000 proposed satellites in these constellations.
Currently, NSR says that we are in a mid-launch frequency helped by the proliferation of Starlink launches. It says that Starlink will launch the bulk of the 3,000 or so satellites this year, and much the same as the total in 2022. Next year (2024) that number will tumble to well below 1,000 craft, and a slightly higher total in 2025. 2026 will see launches rise but still below 2,000 in total.
However, during 2027 the number of communications satellites launched into orbit will boom to more than 7,000, and during 2028 to well over 8,000.
NSR says that the report covers 232 Earth-based gateway teleports and includes data for the plans from SES/O3b and its mPOWER fleet, OneWeb, Iridium, Globalstar as well as Starlink.