Satellite connectivity and video market expected to double over next decade

Research finds the satellite industry is gaining a higher orbit with the non-geostationary market a key engine, and with recovery to pre-Covid revenues expected in 2022

With OneWeb on the rise and Elon Musk’s Starlink constellation about to ramp up from its beta phase, the non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite constellation industry is providing to be a huge spur to the overall satellite market and its market value will double between 2020 to 2030, says consulting and market intelligence firm Euroconsult.

In its report, Satellite connectivity and video market, Euroconsult says the satellite connectivity and video market is projected to exceed $20bn in value by 2030, and NGSO capacity is set to account for more than three-quarters of the projected market growth in the next decade.

The report provides metrics and analysis of the period between 2016 to 2020 for historical trends, and forecasts data and trends for the years 2020 to 2030. It covers 13 world regions and reviews market trends for six segments: video distribution and contribution, cellular backhaul and trunking, enterprise networks, mobility, milsatcom, and consumer broadband.  

In a similar report for 2020, Euroconsult predicted a prolonged market downturn due to Covid and the more structural driver of eroding capacity revenue for video services. The new report validates that finding, reflecting a 5% decrease in market value in 2019 compared with 2020.

However, while the study found Covid had a significant impact on key growth markets such as connectivity for cruise ships, planes, and offshore oil platforms, it also noted that the structural demand drivers for satellite connectivity remain strong, and a return to pre-Covid growth is projected in 2022.

The increasing dominance of NGSO satellites was also reflected in the supply forecast, with NGSO accounting for about 90% of total supply to be added in the next five years. Euroconsult also believes that total global capacity supply (including all orbits) will expand rapidly from 3.7Tbps in 2020 to 23Tbps in 2022 and is projected to reach more than 50Tbps in 2026 as additional constellations enter service.

“NGSO constellations continue to gain momentum, as demonstrated by the past year’s new satellite orders and launches,” said Nathan De Ruiter, managing director of Euroconsult Canada. “Starlink began commercial service and both OneWeb and Telesat Lightspeed secured additional investment. Our report found that NGSOs accounted for 97% of the supply added in 2020, resulting from satellites launched by both Starlink and OneWeb.”

The report also suggested that connecting the unconnected remains the largest market opportunity for satellite connectivity. This includes service to remote areas, cellular backhaul, and community hotspots, as well as serving people on the move. Euroconsult said that currently, more than 250,000 commercial vessels and aircraft are operating beyond the reach of terrestrial networks and only 15% of these use satellite for broadband connectivity.

“To achieve market growth projections, satellite operators need to integrate deeper into terrestrial networks,” said Dimitri Buchs, senior consultant at Euroconsult. “We expect digitisation or ‘smartification’ of satellite communication networks to play a key role in achieving network convergence. Heightened network efficiency will enable new user applications and will unlock new market opportunities in underserved areas.”

Looking ahead, Euroconsult said enterprise networks and consumer broadband are driving future growth and are expected to be the two largest contributors to continued demand in the next decade. Video distribution, previously the mainstay of the satellite industry, continues to decline and level off, while revenues from the mobility segment, including maritime and aero connectivity, are projected to grow to a similar size market of more than $3bn by 2030.

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