BICS, Skylo unite to deliver GEO satellite NB-IoT connectivity

Connectivity enabler announces partnership with non-terrestrial network operator to deliver ubiquitous satellite-based narrowband internet of things connectivity for enterprises, letting IoT devices travel outside of their home country

Connectivity enabler BICS has inked a partnership with non-terrestrial network (NTN) operator Skylo to offer ubiquitous narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) connectivity via geostationary orbit (GEO) satellites.

At the heart of the deal is the need to address the rapidly expanding internet of things (IoT) market. Citing Statista research, BICS noted that the number of connected IoT devices around the world is expected to nearly double by 2030, growing from 15.14 billion in 2024 to 29.42 billion in the next seven years.

ABI Research from July 2023 calculated that the global 5G NTN service revenue will witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 59% between 2024 and 2031, propelling revenue to hit $18bn, and connections projected to reach over 200 million.

The major industry verticals responsible for more than 100 million connected IoT devices are utilities, retail and wholesale, transportation and storage, and government, but more important than that are the mission-critical applications IoT is used for, such as search and rescue operations.

By partnering, BICS and Skylo are confident their enterprise customers can benefit from a 3GPP-compliant plug-and-play IoT service with unrivalled connectivity and the ability to roam outside the device’s home country.

The two-way partnership is designed to benefit enterprises requiring faster global coverage at competitive rates. It will connect devices anywhere in the world via satellite connections across the BICS IPX network and allow BICS to use Skylo for its network made up of geostationary satellites covering 13.7 million square miles of land and sea, for direct NB-IoT-to-satellite connectivity for its enterprise customers.

BICS’s SIM for Things enables enterprises to launch, manage and monetise international IoT applications, via one SIM and one platform, across its global IoT network.

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Skylo will also use the BICS IPX offering to reach a telco audience, delivering IoT NTN connectivity to enterprise customers of partner mobile operators and mobile virtual network operators. The two companies are already integrated, with traffic flowing in both directions over Skylo’s live, commercial network.

“Satellite connections have proven themselves when it comes to reliability: less susceptible to failure from weather, natural disaster or war than other types of connectivity, and they provide ubiquitous coverage to 99% of the world’s surface,” said Skylo chief product officer and co-founder Tarun Gupta. “Together with BICS’s IPX network, we now offer a one-stop-shop for telcos and enterprises looking to roll out IoT solutions to their customers.”

BICS head of IoT and M2M business Luc Vidal-Madjar said: “We are very proud to be working with Skylo, the only operator with persistent coverage over existing geostationary satellites, giving us a faster route to global coverage and needing fewer satellites which last longer in orbit than their low-orbit counterparts. Together, we are further bridging the digital divide, connecting the world and creating opportunities for both network operators and enterprises.”

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