Amazon’s Project Kuiper: 4K Video Streaming and Two-Way Video Calls, What’s Next for the Satellite Communication (SatCom) Frontier?

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By Victor Xu | 4Q 2023 | IN-7141

Amazon’s Project Kuiper has taken a significant step towards commercial deployment and is on-track to begin mass satellite production starting in the first half of 2024, before entering beta testing with select customers later in the year. This ABI Research Insight will overview the satellite internet marketspace and the future business prospects of the global and Southeast Asia satellite Internet market.

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Project Kuiper: Ready for "Prime" Time?


In a significant leap towards commercial viability, Amazon's Project Kuiper achieved noteworthy milestones in November 2023. Successful tests have showcased the first two-way video call, Ultra HD 4K video streaming from Amazon Prime Video, and the first-ever purchase conducted over Amazon’s Kuiper SatCom network. (Link) These tests have validated all systems and subsystems on board Project Kuiper’s prototype satellites and have marked a substantial step forward for the Kuiper mega-constellation, which is a planned constellation of 3,236 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.

The Positive Ripple Effects of the Satellite Internet Revolution


These successful tests by Amazon have validated the robustness of its satellite constellation architecture and design. And having concluded initial testing, Project Kuiper is now poised to commence large-scale satellite production, paving the way for a comprehensive deployment slated to be in the first half of 2024. Subsequently, beta testing with select customers is anticipated to begin later in the year, with early partners such as Vodafone (UK) and Verizon (USA) participating in these service pilots as Amazon initiates beta testing in the second half of the upcoming year.

Companies such as Starlink, OneWeb, Kacific, Amazon Kuiper, IPSTAR (subsidiary of Thaicom), Hughes Network Systems (subsidiary of EchoStar) and MEASAT have been leading the way in driving global satellite Internet access expansion. Starlink, operated by SpaceX, is a leading mega-constellation with 5,000+ mass-produced small satellites in LEO (as of November 2023). With coverage spanning 60+ countries, Starlink has a preeminent position in the LEO sector. (Refer to ABI Insight “Connecting the Unconnected: Starlink’s Expansion into Asia Signals a Shift in Closing the Digital Divide” for further information.) Amazon’s satellite broadband program, Project Kuiper, is a long-term initiative to launch and operate a constellation of 3,236 LEO satellites. Project Kuiper’s mission is to deliver affordable and high-speed internet services to unserved and underserved households, commercial premises and communities worldwide.

Driven by advancements in satellite technology, LEO constellations, reduced launch costs, market innovation and competition, and global connectivity goals, the technological progress in satellite internet over the recent years has been remarkable. This technology would certainly have a profound impact on key areas such as global connectivity, emergency and disaster response, rural and remote broadband access, education, telemedicine, and more.

Orbital Opportunities: The Business Potential of Satellite Internet


ABI Research anticipates that the global satellite broadband market will generate service revenue of approximately US$18.5 billion and facilitate approximately 12 million connections by 2030. This projection represents a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.9% in service revenue from 2022 to 2030, underscoring a substantial growth trajectory in this sector. (For more detail, refer to ABI Research's SatCom Constellations: Deployments & Subscriptions market data (MD-SATCC-102).) Furthermore, SatCom in Southeast Asia (SEA) is also expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% between 2023 and 2028, amounting to more than 1.8 million subscribers by 2028. Growing at a CAGR of 21%, it is also estimated that the SatCom market in SEA will value over US$ 2.1 billion by 2028. (For more detail, refer to ABI Research's Connecting the Unconnected: Utilizing SatCom to Close the Digital Divide Research Report (AN-5864).)

ABI Research has three recommendations for Satellite Internet Service Providers to optimize their business growth and capitalize on the rising demand for satellite internet connectivity:

  • Affordability/Flexible Satellite Service Plans: Satellite service providers should develop pricing models that are affordable for users in the low-income and rural areas. Affordability is a chief concern for the economically disadvantaged groups in rural areas, so offering tiered pricing plans and discounts can make satellite Internet services more accessible to a wider range of customers.
  • Partnerships: Satellite service providers should further collaborate with governments, local organizations and companies, telcos, and other stakeholders to identify and address connectivity gaps and use cases for satellite Internet. Such partnerships can help pool resources, share insights, and implement initiatives more effectively. Project Kuiper has been partnering with telcos like Vodafone in Europe and Vodacom in Africa, installing customer terminals alongside cellular towers. These terminals use satellite links to connect the towers to the telcos’ core networks, expanding their coverage without the need for costly infrastructure development. As a result, rural and remote areas can enjoy improved cellular coverage.
  • Local Community Engagement: Satellite Internet providers should also engage with the local communities to understand their specific connectivity challenges and needs. A community-centric approach can lead to tailored solutions that better address local requirements.



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