In recent years, satellite communications (SatCom) systems have undergone an evolution. The industry's shift to commercial space, also known as “New Space”, has helped technology move from niche applications to mainstream use. This has allowed SatCom access to reach an all-time high in 2023, extending its presence from the battlefields of Ukraine, the archipelagos of Southeast Asia, and even the Arctic poles. Connectivity can now be achieved anywhere on Earth, but a connection to a satellite network requires vital connectivity equipment on the ground: user terminals. According to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, the SatCom terminals market will reach US$238 billion by 2030.
“Today, these terminals come in the form of traditional tiny aperture terminals (VSAT), Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals, satellite phones (Satphones), and recently, 5G mobile devices following the 3GPP standard. Thanks to the rapid deployment of non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) networks, like Starlink, Eutelsat OneWeb, and soon Amazon’s Kuiper, innovation in the satellite ground segment is quickly advancing,” explains Andrew Cavalier, Satellite Communications Senior Analyst at ABI Research.
The increased industry launch capacity has laid the groundwork for SatCom applications to surge, ushering in a new era of lower-cost satellites and ground equipment. According to Cavalier, “In the area of SatCom, Satellite Internet has been experiencing a surge in popularity, and it is fast becoming a valuable technology in bridging the connectivity gap.” He also says that companies such as Starlink and Amazon Kuiper will be the frontrunners in the satellite broadband marketplace with new low-cost, flat-panel terminals. “We anticipate the low entry cost of Amazon and Starlink terminals will attract new and existing customers to Satellite Internet. As both networks will be operational by 2030, we expect annual shipments of low-cost flat panel VSAT terminals to reach up to 2 million annually, representing a 2022-2030 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6%.”
ABI Research also anticipates that satellite manufacturers and operators will leverage new 3GPP standards to drive equipment sales. Victor Xu, Satellite Communications Research Analyst at ABI Research, explains, “Satcom features in consumer smartphones, like the Apple iPhone 14/15, Huawei Mate 50/60 Pro's, and ZTE Axon 50s, are sparking a mobile coverage revolution. Though the technology is still in its early stages, this tech promises the potential of major leaps in bridging coverage gaps and revolutionizing mobile access for rural communities, travelers, and emergency responders.” Xu says, “Though challenges such as infrastructure development, regulation and standardization, and battery drain remain, the future does look bright for Satcom-powered mobile devices and that exciting times are ahead as we connect to the sky from our pockets.”
Jake Saunders, Vice President at ABI Research, concludes, “SatCom is rapidly evolving from a niche solution into a mainstream force shaping the future of global connectivity.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s Satellite Communication Terminals & CPE Shipments: BGAN & VSAT and Satellite Communication Terminals & CPE Shipments: NTN market data reports. These reports are part of the company’s Satellite Communications research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Market Data spreadsheets comprise deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight into where opportunities lie.
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