BT tests HAPS delivery for 5G
November 20, 2023
By Chris Forrester
BT is readying a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS), the extremely high-flying aircraft for a test over its Adastral Park R&D facility in Suffolk, UK.
BT is partnering with Stratospheric Platforms (SPL) and is exploring integrating the HAPS technology with fixed terrestrial networks, and the option of a non-terrestrial 5G as alternative to serving ‘not spots’ where reception is difficult.
SPL is backed by Deutsche Telekom which holds a 38 per cent stake in the business. SPL’s Stratomast technology is key to the overall strategy and is installed into a Britten Norman aircraft following an agreement announced last week.
BT and SPL intend demonstrating the capabilities of the platform in a real-world environment.
Speaking at a ‘5G from HAPS’ session at Mobile World Live, SPL’s Commercial VP Neal Unitt-Jones said the BT link will lead to airborne deployments in 2024 ahead of the development of a commercial business case.
Unitt-Jones told delegates that the technology works well, commenting: “It is currently working very well from a tower pointing to the ground, but we want to release it from the ground, remove it from its umbilical, and put it on an aircraft.”