EchoStar Corporation has announced an agreement with Astro Digital, an Indian based designer, manufacturer and operator of small satellite systems, for the construction of a global S-band mobile satellite service (MSS) network. Under the agreement, Astro Digital will manufacture the satellites for the constellation, which will deliver global internet of things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) and other data services beginning in 2024. EchoStar will operate the constellation from its Australian subsidiary, EchoStar Global.
Commenting on the development, Hamid Akhavan, CEO, EchoStar, said, “This agreement represents another step forward towards our goal of a global non-terrestrial 5G network. With our engineering ingenuity, our service delivery expertise and our spectrum rights, EchoStar is uniquely positioned to offer worldwide S-band satellite services to help meet the insatiable demand for complete and constant connectivity.”
The 28 satellites in this constellation design will feature an advanced software-defined radio with onboard storage and processing to power smart two-way device connectivity. The satellites will be enabled with the LoRa (meaning “Long Range”) protocol for connecting very low-cost, long-lived devices. With support for 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN) services, the constellation will serve as a foundation for EchoStar to engineer 5G new radio (NR) based NTN capabilities according to 3GPP release 17 specifications.
Meanwhile, Josh Williams, managing director, EchoStar Global Australia, said, “These new capabilities will fill a gap in the connected ecosystem, greatly expanding worldwide IoT interoperability. Our team, together with Astro Digital, has already begun integration of our Australian-based operations to bring to market a truly global solution with consistent and reliable network performance.”
Through its subsidiary EchoStar Mobile Limited, EchoStar also operates an MSS network in Europe using the geostationary EchoStar XXI satellite, which will interoperate seamlessly with the new LEO constellation.