There will be more than 175 million non-terrestrial network (NTN) mobile connections worldwide by 2030, according to ‘The Ascending Satellite NTN Market’ report by ABI Research. The growing adoption of satellite services in the communication sector is driven by the deployment of satellite constellations for low-latency, high-throughput network applications and extending terrestrial network coverage. By the decade’s end, these shifts will translate to $124.6 billion in annual satellite services revenue.

Commenting on the report, Andrew Cavalier, satellite communications industry analyst, ABI Research, said, “Satellite communications services have seen a new wave of enthusiasm and convergence with terrestrial networks looking to extend past their coverage zones and bridge the digital divide. We are witnessing a growing trend of operators leveraging software-defined satellites and multi-orbit solutions to meet the connectivity demands of the future.”

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) initiative is having a profound impact on the satellite communications industry, with a wave of notable satellite operators looking to take advantage of the market opportunity being created by the convergence of satellite communications and terrestrial cellular networks. On the other side of the coin, smartphone manufacturers and chipset makers are making moves that highlight excitement for consumer-grade devices supporting satellite communications via narrowband (NB)-NTN, NTN unmodified, and eventually, 5G new radio (NR)-NTN.

Meanwhile, Jake Saunders, vice president, Asia Pacific, ABI Research, said, “Much of this growth is thanks to the smaller form factor of satellites, as well as reduced launch costs by 98 per cent, thanks to reusable rockets by SpaceX, and better economies of scale thanks to standardised satellite bus and payload design. All these developments make it more affordable to launch satellites into orbit and offer satcom services to a wider audience, driving further market developments.”