A Mobile World
It is a sector expected to see massive growth over the coming decade. Mobility is going to be a key focus of the global satellite industry as we move forward into the second decade of the millenium. The desire to have connectivity no matter where we are and no matter how fast we are moving is only going to become stronger.
We live in a mobile world. Many of us have now progressed from mobile phones to smartphones and from PCs to tablets. The world of technology and the way in which we consume voice, data and video is changing beyond all recognition. Living in this connected world, with devices that may be carried around with us no matter where we go, we now expect the experience that we have at our PCs and TVs in our houses to be accessible on the move. A smartphone, for example, can offer the same experience as a PC, in a miniature form. We may watch TV, access emails, surf the Internet, use VoIP, all through the same device. The same goes for tablets and laptops. Whether it is for personal use or for business, access to voice, high speed data, Internet and TV and video content on the go is already an important focus for the satellite industry, but this is only going to become more important as time goes by.
According to NSR’s 7th Edition Mobile Satellite Services report, released in June 2011, MSS and FSS products will become increasingly blurred due to convergence and the demand for mobile broadband. It has also found that the MSS market came out of recession more quickly than expected due to increased demand for mobility. “The global MSS market will grow to $10.2 billion in 2020, more than doubling from today’s volume”, according to the study’s author Claude Rousseau, Senior Analyst for NSR. “Bankruptcies of MSS-ATC operators offer a repeat scenario of the late 1990s causing many people to see the industry negatively, but,” Rousseau notes, “MSS operators have actually grown more than 8% last year while FSS VSAT operators have seen their share of the satellite mobility revenues top the 20% mark.”
NSR sees the market continuing its accelerated growth. The introduction of more High Throughput Satellites and demand for VSAT broadband will be significant. The enormous range of applications that can be catered for by mobile connectivity will see MSS operators operating in consumer and vertical markets such as oil and gas and disaster recovery. NSR predicts that by the end of 2020, HTS capacity will hold a 22 percent market share which indicates enormous growth for a relatively new type of satellite.
Cellular backhaul will also play an important role in the growth of the mobility platforms. The use of satellite to connect mobile phone users is bound to see significant growth. Users of mobile and smart phones never want to be out of range. They will always want to be able to get a signal on land, at sea and in the air. Satellite can answer this call. NSR believes that the global satellite backhaul market will grow to $1.9 billion in 2020 and that mobile platforms will drive growth in this area in the future. The largest growth opportunities lie in the maritime market. The cruise industry dominates the segment, both in terms of installed units and bandwidth needs. In addition to standard voice, the cruise industry also leads in high rate data and video applications.
Once organisations and individuals have had a taste of what mobility can bring to them, they are not likely to want to go backwards. This means that demand for mobile connectivity and the plethora of different applications that this brings with it, will only grow and grow. It is incredible how the evolution of communications has so quickly moved on from being very static to available anywhere on earth. This is the unique offering that satellite brings to the table – availability. No matter where, a satellite signal can be received and therefore reliable communications established.
The military, for example, have long been users of mobile communications, but now, as time and knowledge has spread, users can be anyone from a commander in the U.S. Army to a schoolchild using their smartphone to access a favourite TV programme whilst travelling in their parent’s car. Mobile communications literally have no limits and this is the thing that will propel them forward and secure their use across the board so that no-one need to be without voice, high-speed data, and video services, no matter where in the world they happen to be. The mobile phone revolution has now given rise to a new generation of devices and therefore services that have not been seen before. This will be a truly exciting and groundbreaking time in the history of communications as more and more ways are found to use mobility to improve all of our lives.