LEO Broadband Services Will Propel Satellite Broadband Market Revenues to US$4.1 Billion in 2026

LEO systems’ arrival will benefit underserved users in remote areas by supporting high-speed, low latency broadband service

Oyster Bay, New York - 15 Apr 2021

The demand for broadband connectivity over both fixed and mobile broadband networks is increasing dramatically. Yet, despite network expansions and upgrades, only half of households worldwide currently have access to fixed broadband services. With the rollout of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations, satellite broadband services will improve broadband penetration significantly. Global tech market advisory firm ABI Research forecasts that the satellite broadband market will reach 3.5 million subscribers in 2021, grow at a CAGR 8% to reach 5.2 million users in 2026, and generate US$4.1 billion service revenue.

“LEO satellites will play an important role in satellite broadband services in the years to come. High Throughput Satellite (HTS) LEO systems can support multi-Gbps speed per satellite. Orbiting around 800-1600 km from the Earth’s surface, LEO systems offer a major advantage of low latency between 30-50 milliseconds, enabling LEO broadband services to support low latency services such as online gaming and live video streaming,” explains Khin Sandi Lynn, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

Traditionally, Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites are mainly used to provide broadband services to homes and businesses in remote or rural areas where the deployment of mobile or fixed broadband connectivity is challenging. Although GEO satellites support viable speed over 100 Mbps speed broadband access, their distance from the Earth surface, about 36,000 km, creates a drawback of longer latency as high as 600ms, limiting the use of low latency applications.

LEO satellite operator SpaceX first launched its Starlink broadband services to residential users in 2020, supporting 100 Mbps broadband speed with unlimited data caps per month. SpaceX has launched over 1000 LEO satellites and aims to serve more than 600,000 homes and businesses in the United States. The company is now working toward the expansion of its broadband service to some markets in Latin America. Other companies such as OneWeb and Telesat have launched LEO satellites providing connectivity to the business segment. Amazon, which plans to launch LEO constellations named project Kupier, received FCC approval for its project in mid-2020, although the first satellite launch date is yet to be confirmed.

As broadband connectivity is becoming an essential service in today’s homes, satellite broadband services will remain an important part of the broadband market. There is inevitable competition from terrestrial broadband networks due to the expansion of fixed broadband networks and mobile networks. The expansion of LTE and 5G networks will challenge the satellite broadband industry by supplying fixed wireless access (FWA) services to residential users. However, the cost and time associated with terrestrial network deployments can limit distribution in remote areas. “Satellite systems will continue to provide broadband services to underserved and unserved areas,” Lynn says.

LEO systems’ arrival will benefit users in remote areas by supporting high-speed, low latency broadband service. “The challenge of LEO-based broadband service currently is the cost of terminals, which are relatively high compared to existing satellite or terrestrial platforms. LEO satellite operators need to find ways to lower the terminal cost. Flexible packages and pricing could make the services affordable for users in both developed and emerging markets. Even though heavy subsidizing of hardware costs may be required initially, the ability to boost adoption rates will help ecosystem development and eventually lower the hardware cost,” Lynn concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s LEO Satellite Constellations and Broadband Access Implications application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s 5G & Mobile Network Infrastructure research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific application, which could focus on an individual market or geography.

About ABI Research

ABI Research provides actionable research and strategic guidance to technology leaders, innovators, and decision makers around the world. Our research focuses on the transformative technologies that are dramatically reshaping industries, economies, and workforces today. ABI Research's global team of analysts publish groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms, empowering our clients to stay ahead of their markets and their competitors.

ABI Research提供开创性的研究和战略指导,帮助客户了解日新月异的技术。 自1990年以来,我们已与全球数百个领先的技术品牌,尖端公司,具有远见的政府机构以及创新的贸易团体建立了合作关系。 我们帮助客户创造真实的业务成果。

For more information about ABI Research's services, contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific or visit www.abiresearch.com.

Contact ABI Research

Media: Interview an Analyst

Media Contacts

Americas: +1.516.624.2542
Europe: +44.(0).203.326.0142
Asia: +65 6950.5670