A flurry of satellite agreements signed last week with network operators in the Asia-Pacific region is highlighting the area’s surging data demand.
Satellite broadband demand will rise 23.9% in 2022 in the Asia-Pacific region — excluding Northeast Asia and India — Hugh Ujhazy, vice president of telecommunications and IoT APEJ at research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), told Connectivity Business News, referencing data from the company’s recently released report: Asia/Pacific (Excluding Northeast Asia and India) Satellite Broadband Services Market Forecast, 2022–2026.
“This growth expands capacity from current levels of 114 Gbps [gigabits per second] to 335 Gbps by 2025, which will have the impact of driving down cost and improving coverage, especially for lower latency use cases such as cellular backhaul,” Ujhazy said.
Satellite operators announce deals
Satellite communications provider SES (EPA: SESG) last week announced an agreement with Vodafone PNG (Digitec Communications), a subsidiary of Amalgamated Telecom Holdings and Austel Investment, to provide 4G and 5G mobile broadband to five locations in Papua New Guinea via SES’ O3b mid-Earth orbit constellation. “Our [service-level agreement] guarantees our 5G-ready ultra-high-throughput, low-latency backhaul services which adhere to MEF Ethernet Virtual Private Line standards to ensure our network will work just like” any other part of the network, an SES spokesperson told Connectivity Business News.
Also last week, low Earth orbit satellite communications provider Omnispace announced an agreement with solutions provider NCINGA to provide 5G direct-to-device mobile communications to customers in the Fiji Islands, Maldives and Sri Lanka. The service will use Omnispace’s spectrum and operate in 3GPP band n256. The company plans to finalize the first 3GPP-compliant 5G NTN services this month, according to a release.
Omnispace has not yet announced carrier partners, but “we are in discussions with mobile network operator partners now, and plan to share details regarding those relationships as soon as we are able,” Brian Pemberton, vice president of sales and marketing, told Connectivity Business News. The company has not yet selected a cloud provider partner or business support system / operation support system (BSS/OSS) partner, he added.
Service will begin soon, Pemberton said. “Ideally, Omnispace will be able to start offering an IoT [internet of things] service by the end of this year,” he said. “Our initial IoT service will serve as a bridge to our 5G service offering, which is still in development and will be commercially available in a few years.”
5G mobile competition in the future will come from AST SpaceMobile’s (NASDAQ: ASTS) direct-to-cellphone service, IDC’s Ujhazy noted. “IDC believes in the remote areas of South East Asia, South Asia and Oceania there is demand for cellular-to-satellite voice/narrowband data services which has the potential to mirror the growth of broadband satellite once 5G-to-satellite becomes available around 2025/26,” he said.