Quilty Analytics, the leading boutique firm for research, strategy, and investment banking advisory to the Satellite & Space industry, recently issued to subscribers its briefing on Flat Panel Antennas: The Next Big Thing or an Elusive Unicorn?
“Given the very favorable feedback we’ve received on our FPA report from executives including CTOs and others at leading satcom companies, we thought it would be worthwhile to stimulate discussion of this topic by sharing with the larger industry some of our key conclusions,” said Chris Quilty, Partner, Quilty Analytics.
These conclusions are:
The original vision of a low-cost, high-performing electronically steered antenna for commercial markets and consumer applications has not yet been achieved, nor is there persuasive evidence that flat panel antenna (FPA) developers are on the verge of solving the many commercial and technical challenges to attain this objective in the next two years. On the other hand, near-term opportunities do exist for FPA solutions for key premium markets, including in-flight connectivity and defense customers.
An FPA at price points that will transform the market’s acceptance of consumer LEO Broadband services remains elusive and, though advances are being made, a breakthrough cannot be assured. If one occurs (at all), it is likely still three-to-five years away from a sub-$500 price point, requiring some further advances and importantly, much higher manufacturing volumes, perhaps initially seeded by operator subsidization of customer premise equipment.
The inability of the industry to realize an FPA breakthrough is disappointing, but it is unlikely to have significant adverse impact on satcom installs for GEO, or within key premium LEO/MEO customer segments. On the other hand, it remains an issue that will likely cloud the prospects of emerging consumer LEO broadband efforts for the next three years and possibly longer. The FPA report assesses these factors and potential catalysts that could change the current outlook.
“We would like to thank the many executives we spoke to in the satellite communications ecosystem whose input drove the report’s findings,” said Quilty. “We are grateful for their feedback, and we look forward to keeping our subscribers abreast of the latest developments in this critical industry segment.”