Category Archives: Market

Delivering Profitable Services In Africa Using Satellite

From Communications Africa

In the latest issue of Communications Africa, Richard Deasington, iDirect’s director of market development, provides perspective on the ways in which various technology, regulatory, industry and market developments are positioning satellite to help mobile operators deliver profitable services in Africa like never before.

Technology: The biggest economic change is being lead by the launch of High Throughput Satellites (HTS), coupled with the introduction of low-cost, more power-efficient small cells from the cellular industry. When combined, these developments help bring down the point of entry for smaller-sized communities.

Regulatory: With regards to geo-political and business challenges facing companies that are trying to do business in Africa, Deasington suggests that it is time for regulators to take a new look at landing rights in the continent. Many of the most economical HTS services are provided by satellites that land their traffic in different countries or continents from the originating country and then return it via fibre. While this type of setup raises security flags, it could be time to revisit such scenarios.

Industry: As demand in a data-centric world makes its way to remote parts of Africa, the low-cost smart phone will be a key enabler for the digital revolution. With this in mind, Deasington says that the best option for most new networks will be a leap straight to 4G LTE, rather than 3G. This is further impacted by the fact that the cost of handsets is not as much of a handicap as it was in years past.

The impact that this has on satellite is in the fact that the arrival of higher bandwidth demands, has coincided with deployment of HTS. This means that satellite can deliver an order or magnitude more bandwidth for the same cost as older broad-beam satellites.

Market: Backhaul remains a vibrant opportunity for satellite in Africa. iDirect currently works in nearly every country in Africa, providing, among other markets, connectivity to remote and rural cellular sites. The traffic, which ranges from voice to data, becomes further optimized with the introduction of iDirect Sathaul.

Check out Communications Africa for the complete interview, which also includes a deeper look at iDirect Sathaul and some of the fastest growing markets for satellite in Africa.

Small Cells Asia: Satellite Profitably Extends Mobile Networks

Small Cells Asia2As data growth continues to expand, mobile operators must look to profitably extend their networks into remote and rural areas. iDirect helped to make the case for the use of satellite at the Small Cells Asia event that took place last week in Singapore.

The venue seemed fitting given the fact Asia is home to more small cells deployments than any other region. The use of small cells, along with the advancement of satellite ground infrastructure and the delivery of more high throughput capacity to the enterprise market with High Throughput Satellite (HTS), are helping to make the business case for satellite for backhaul.

This was a major point emphasized by Gerry Collins, iDirect’s director of business development, during his session ‘The Business Case for Satellite Backhaul 2G, 3G & 4G’ at Mobile Backhaul Asia—which was co-located with Small Cells Asia.

Collins emphasized iDirect’s proven track record in the area of mobile backhaul, and Small Cells Asia1highlighted new opportunities for satellite with small cells. This includes:

  • Rural locations, villages, isolated properties
  • Remote industrial sites – mines, drilling rigs, and machine-to-machine (M2M)
  • Mobility markets, including maritime ships, planes and trains
  • Military and first responder drop-in networks

Among the key takeaways associated with 2G, 3G & 4G networks:

  • 2G networks will remain the primary technology that connects billions of people in unconnected parts of the world. The availability and low cost of 2G handsets make it a logical choice for expanding into remote and rural locations.
  • 3G networks remains a challenge for mobile operators if they don’t have a cost effective means for backhaul.
  • 4G network interfaces that are better defined and allow for greater user-based optimization across a range of different products from different mobile infrastructure vendors. This remains vital as throughput requirements continue to elevate on mobile networks.

Many operators believe that small cells for urban will be integral to 4G given the growing data demand. This demand is projected to grow enormously in the coming years. By 2020, more than 55% of the data will be video by 2020 and 90% of all people over the age of six old will have mobile service. In addition, Cisco sees global mobile data traffic increasing nearly tenfold between, growing at a compound annual rate of 57%.

As mobile networks continue growing at a rapid pace, cellular backhaul remains a high-growth market with tremendous upside for satellite.

Inmarsat Confirms It’s A First: Approval Of Cobham’s Auto-Deploy Vehicle Mounted Terminal Over Inmarsat’s Global Xpress

From Satnews

Inmarsat, after extensive testing on Inmarsat-5 F1 from Cobham SATCOM’s facility in Denmark, the Cobham EXPLORER 7100GX (E7100GX) terminal is the first vehicle-mounted terminal to receive full type approval for use over the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) network.

The E7100GX is an auto-deploy drive-away system that can be easily integrated onto any land-based vehicle, trailer or skid mount. For the media sector in particular, having the ability to quickly mount an antenna on a vehicle is crucial in order to be ready to connect the moment they arrive on the scene. The E7100GX provides the added benefit of Inmarsat’s GX network, providing access to a much higher throughput and the ability to deliver HD broadcast quality output on a global scale.

When time is of the essence, the fully integrated iDirect Core Module and a user-friendly design enables users with little satellite experience to access GX services within minutes. In addition, with a large 1 meter aperture, the E7100GX is designed to deliver higher data rates and perform seamlessly with rigorous media applications such as: real-time video and audio streaming, video conferencing, and high-speed transfers of large data files. Continue >

Space Plays a Vital Role in Relief

By Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect Europe

Airbus recently announced that Skynet 5A will be re-clocked to 97 East; this Dave Davisannouncement comes at a time when talk of the western strategic reorientation towards China (known as the “pivot to Asia”) has become a key issue in international politics. It also comes at a time when there are increasing concerns over response to humanitarian crises, with recent emergencies in the area.

In June of 2015, the AIDF Asia: Aid and Response Summit will see over 400 senior representatives from the industry, with governments and international bodies coming together to discuss how technological innovations can improve aid and development work in the Asia-Pacific region. I am certain many of the options will be satellite based.

So what could these technological innovations be? I can foresee this coming in two areas primarily: early warning and communications post-event.

Early warning systems based around satellite technologies, to detect and give advanced notice or tsunami, earthquake, cyclone, crop failure, etc., are becoming mature to the stage that they are starting to have a real impact and saving lives. Further development and innovation in these technologies is a must.

As far as communications goes, by its very nature any technology that is designed to work in a defence and security environment is also very suitable to be employed in disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations, so I see the defence focused products being key in this discussion. The discussions will no doubt be focused across all elements; air, land, sea and the lesser known littoral or coastal element, where specialists in amphibious operations come into play. Read More

NSR Expanding Market Share: Diversity Between Core Satellite Mobility Markets

From Satnews

So what happens when companies merge and then merge again?

Not since the 2010 merger of Harris-CapRock-Schlumberger GCS has there been change amongst the larger Energy market service providers. However, over the past two weeks Panasonic Avionics Corp. acquired ITC Global, and SpeedCast acquired Hermes Datacomms and Geolink Satellite Services. Meanwhile, Airbus Defense & Space’s commercial SATCOM service division (Vizada), which has a strong presence in the Offshore Support Vessel market, remains for sale. Although it is hard to put a one-to-one relationship between energy market commodity prices (such as crude oil or iron ore), it’s hard to deny that there isn’t at least a casual relationship between them.

As NSR noted in 2011 when the Harris-CapRock-Schlumerger GCS M&A occurred, the impending introduction of HTS capacity into the mobility markets is at-part a consideration of ‘buying end-users’ to increase returns on capacity investments. With the Airbus D&S/Vizada sale still on the market, service providers are taking the first steps in expanding market share and diversifying the vertical markets they serve. For Panasonic, they get the benefit of levering geographic, frequency, and growth rate diversity between the core satellite mobility markets—Aeronautical and Maritime/Energy to further improve their economics of scale to their extensive HTS footprint. For SpeedCast, Hermes is yet another company in a steady string of acquisitions over the past months to increase their presence in the energy sector—and, further increase their presence outside of Asia-Pacific. With aims at becoming a ‘Top 3 player in the energy services space’ there is still probably some additional organic and inorganic growth in the SpeedCast playbook. Continue >

Latin America: Next Challenges and Demands in the Satellite Industry

From Via Satellite

For the last two years, the satellite market in Latin America has seen substantial growth due to, among other reasons, the 2014 FIFA’s World Cup, which bought the world’s attention to Latin America. DirecTV alone reported 35 percent growth in its earnings due to the high demand for sports broadcasting. It is worth noting that DirecTV’s Latin America operations correspond to almost 20 percent of the company value. Last year, a report from the Brazilian telecoms regulatory body, Anatel found that in 2014 the pay-TV market grew 8.65 percent, with Telmex having close to 52 percent market share, followed by Sky, with 28.8 percent.

Pay TV remains the most important driver for the Latin American satellite market, according to analysts from Frost & Sullivan. A report from this firm released last October points to a steady upward trend, based on an increased demand for value-added services, such as HD and video on demand. In 2013, the pay-TV market saw total revenues of $20.43 billion, and that is expected to rise to $30.91 billion in 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan’s report. The projection of growth in the number of subscribers is expected to go from 55.9 million in 2013 to 86.1 million in 2019, when the household penetration will hit 57.9 percent across the region.

“TV broadcasters and programmers that distribute content to cable headends constitute a very large and stable user base for satellite capacity in Latin America — particularly in C band — and they will continue demanding satellite spectrum for both TV distribution and contribution,” says NSR analyst Carlos Placido. DTH remains tied strategically with the needs of major telcos that need to offer competitive pay-TV packages to compete against cable operators. Continue >

VSAT Plays Critical Role in Disaster Relief Efforts in Vanuatu

During times of natural disaster VSAT plays an essential role in maintaining critical communications associated with relief efforts. Such capabilities were on display in the wake of Cyclone Pam, which hit the island of Vanuatu at the end of March.

One of the initial relief efforts deployed to the island was a 73-meter yacht, the M/Y MTN disaster relief1Dragonfly, tasked with transporting aid, SAR and medical teams from Port Vila to isolated islands that are without communication. The yacht was equipped with satellite technology and equipment donated from iDirect, MTN Communications and Intelsat.

The M/Y Dragonfly, was the first to answer a call for disaster relief efforts to the island by YachtAid Global. YachtAid Global is an organization dedicated to delivering humanitarian, developmental and conservation aid onboard yachts to isolated and underprivileged coastal communities around the world.

When disaster strikes, it is important to have a communications plan that is quickly MTN disaster relief2deployed in any environment and under any circumstance. The use of satellite, independent of terrestrial infrastructure, becomes the ideal choice, providing fast setup and connectivity.

iDirect technology is used in emergency relief scenarios around the globe, providing  relief teams with reliable global coverage whether in densely populated urban areas where the infrastructure is damaged, or remote locations where infrastructure does not currently exist. With the technology, first responders are given complete communications capabilities with voice, data and video.

Peter Blaney & Cobham Satcom’s Sea Tel Receive MSUA Pioneer Awards

From Satnews

The Mobile Satellite Users Association (MSUA) has presented Mobile Satellite Pioneer Awards to Sea Tel founder Robert J. Mathews and Sea Tel engineer of 26 years, Pete Blaney.

Now a product line offered by Cobham SATCOM, Sea Tel has been a driving force within the maritime SATCOM industry for more than 35 years. The awards were presented at the MSUA’s recent luncheon in Washington DC. The awards recognize the pair’s and Sea Tel’s contribution to the development of mobile satellite technology and are specifically for ‘development of the first maritime stabilized SATCOM system’. Sea Tel has been a pioneer in the maritime satellite world since it began in 1979, when founder Robert J. Matthews designed the first mechanically stabilized antenna pedestals for the fledgling INMARSAT-A mobile satellite communications system. Pete Blaney joined Sea Tel, shortly after working with Robert throughout the eighties, to further develop maritime SATCOM capabilities.

In 1993, under Pete’s direction as Chief Engineer, Sea Tel introduced the first fully electronic, servo-stabilized maritime pedestal, the 1893, used by several OEM suppliers on INMARSAT Standard-M antennas. The following year, the 2494 was introduced, the first Ku-band DIRECTV stabilized maritime pedestal that allowed small boat owners to receive satellite TV under motion.

The next pioneering innovation occurred in 1996 when the Sea Tel 96 series fully closed loop stabilized pedestals were released. This advancement increased the pointing accuracy from 1.0 to 0.1 degrees allowing a Tx/Rx system to operate at Ku-Band under the most severe ship motions. The Sea Tel 9797 2.4m C-band antenna followed the next year, which became, and still is, the industry standard antenna for Maritime C-Band communications. Continue >

HTS Offers Solution to Rising Connectivity Demands at Sea

From Via Satellite

Noting an uptick in expectation for faster bandwidth in the satellite communications market, NSSLGlobal recently ran a study that found nearly half of all superyacht crewmembers expect to receive the same connectivity speeds at sea as they do on land. With superyachts leading rapidly rising expectations for faster and more reliable maritime connectivity, the question becomes whether or not technology can keep pace.

“Fifty percent of the world’s population is under 30. The younger working-age population has grown up with connectivity as the norm,” Sally-Anne Ray, managing director of NSSLGlobal told Via Satellite. “Increasingly ‘IT-savvy’ crew expects to always be online, which results in a demand for increased speed as well as different ways of using bandwidth.”

With bandwidth previously used primarily for voice and email communications to keep in touch with loved ones while abroad, in just a few short years these demands have been replaced with the desire to access applications such as Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp and FaceTime, all of which are “potentially bandwidth-hungry” applications.

Solutions such as Kerio Control or NSSLGlobal’s Cruise Control can help yacht operators ensure that bandwidth isn’t being wasted while companies improve equipment onboard to try to meet demand. Meanwhile, crewmembers can turn off automatic updates and synching while on board to prioritize bandwidth. But with superyacht owners who have more resources available — often setting the tone for the rest of the industry — it’s likely other vessels will come to demand more reliable connectivity at sea as well, calling for a more permanent solution.

“We definitely believe that demand in the superyacht sector will ripple out to the rest of the maritime community,” Ray said. “This is especially true of commercial maritime where the introduction of the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC-2006), which establishes minimum working and living standards for all seafarers, has meant vessels must re-evaluate their bandwidth.” Passengers aboard cruise ships also often expect similar standards at sea as on land, and support vessels for offshore oilrigs have high bandwidth requirements as well. Continue >

Delta to Outfit 250 Aircraft with Gogo 2Ku

From Avionics Today

Delta Air Lines will outfit its narrow body aircraft serving long-haul domestic Latin American and Caribbean routes with Gogo‘s next generation 2Ku technology. The more than 250 aircraft in Delta’s domestic fleet were previously under a long-term agreement to be equipped for Gogo’s Air-to-Ground (ATG) network but will now be outfitted for the upcoming satellite-based 2Ku technology.

The airline also expects to install the 2Ku service on new international aircraft when they enter the Delta fleet. 2Ku installations are slated to begin by 2016 and the In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) provider will continue deploying new technologies to the fleet over several years.

In addition to the 2Ku award, Delta will partner with Gogo in the launch of next generation ATG technologies for short-haul domestic aircraft flying within the U.S. Continue >