Multiple recent announcements in the satcoms sector underline its continuing growth and relevance but also research and innovation that could change the way satellite communications services are delivered in the coming years.
Following hard on the heels of the Hughes Network Systems JUPITER 3 launch announcement, reported here yesterday, satellite communications company AXESS Networks and ABS, a global satellite operator, have signed an agreement to launch a new network increasing AXESS Networks’ Middle East coverage.
The agreement provides AXESS with expanded opportunities for both terrestrial and maritime clients in the region, strengthening its dual-use strategy for the ABS-2A satellite.
This latest development complements the company’s existing Ku-band satellite coverage of the Middle East, already bolstered by previous agreements supporting networks on the ABS-3A and ABS-2 satellites.
“Our rapid successive roll-out of AXESS networks in the Middle East promotes our service offerings in the maritime, oil & gas, enterprise and telco markets,” says Guido Neumann, President at AXESS EMEA. “Additionally, it provides an attractive option for new clients looking to improve their communications to their fixed and mobile activities in the region.”
Meanwhile two other companies have recently highlighted radically new approaches to satcoms, approaches that both believe could revolutionise space communications in the coming years.
Lynk Global, which claims the first commercially licensed satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile-phone system, last week released what it calls the first-ever video of a series of two-way voice calls between standard mobile phones connected via satellite. The video, available on YouTube, shows multiple voice calls using standard mobile phones connected via Lynk’s existing satellite cell towers in orbit.
A week or two earlier came news from Sateliot, the first company to operate a low-Earth orbit (LEO) 5G IoT satellite constellation, and Telefónica (through its Telefónica Tech and Telefónica Global Solutions (TGS) divisions). They announced that they had successfully extended the reach of the 5G network to space for the first time in the history of telecommunications, paving the way, they suggested, for massive access to connectivity everywhere in the planet.
The achievement has been successfully tested end-to-end by providing satellite coverage extension to Telefónica’s cellular network through standard GSMA roaming. The test was witnessed by the European Space Agency.
Sateliot says the positive results of the demo confirm that 5G IoT devices are able to transmit data through a standard roaming interface using the store and forward two step authentication method, ensuring Sateliot enters commercial operations in 2024.
Can all these approaches coexist? And will they, as some claim, benefit developing world markets? It’s hard to say, but the diversity of these strategies certainly indicates that, despite the continuing global dominance of terrestrial mobile cellular, the space sector is still highly relevant to the future of telecommunications.