3G and 4G backhaul set to boost satellite demand

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Broadband satellite demand is set to rise over the next few years, with 100 launches planned between now and 2025

Satellite bandwidth available to the carrier industry is about to rise significantly after years of slow growth 3G and 4G backhaul among the fastest growing sectors.

A new report from Euroconsult says that high-throughput satellites (HTS) will deliver over 475Gbps to cellular backhaul and trunking users by 2025 and another 480Gbps to aircraft and maritime mobility markets.

Launches are set to rise, both in the traditional geostationary markets – with satellites 35,000km above the equator, giving high latency – and the emerging markets of low-orbit satellites.

There were only 36 geostationary launches in the past decade, says Euroconsult, but the company expects about 100 from 2017 to 2025, at an average of 11 launches a year.

“Capacity supply is now set to more than double to nearly 2,000Gbps by 2018, reaching roughly 3,600 Gbps by 2020,” said Brent Prokosh, senior consultant at Euroconsult.

But the growth in geostationary broadband projects “is to be overshadowed by the emergence of non-geostationary constellation projects”, he added. These “are building momentum, promising massive volumes of capacity supply, low latency and global (or near-global) coverage”.

The report lists fleets such as SES’s O3b plus OneWeb, SpaceX, Telesat and LeoSat, “while it is highly unlikely that all will come to fruition”, he warned. But between them they “would combine to account for over $20 billion of required investment capital and add upwards of 40Tbps of supply”, he said.

The low-orbit, non-geostationary satellite “is projected to grow at an average pace of over 40% per year”, says the report, which expects “at least one” project to be built and launched within the forecast period.

Total HTS capacity lease revenues are forecasted to reach more than $6 billion by 2025, generating over $36 billion in aggregate revenues over the period.

Euroconsult warns: “As a sign of strong underlying and elastic demand, this impressive revenue growth is expected to be achieved despite the confluence of factors combining to drive capacity prices substantially lower, including growing supply, long-term bulk contracts and an increasingly commoditised market for telecom network services.”