NSR’s freshly published Global Satellite Ground Segment, 5th Edition report forecasts global, cumulative revenues for the Commercial Satellite Ground Segment by 2029 at $138 billion.
Data-driven applications are very dynamic with VSAT platforms growing at double-digit rates in the next 10 years. Backhaul, Consumer Broadband, and specialized Enterprise VSAT show the highest interest in this category. For Antennas and RF Chains, the focus is on high-end segments like Earth Stations, where opportunities will come from feeding Broadband networks and the transition to Q/V-Bands, or Mobility, with sophisticated requirements keeping margins at healthy rates. On the other hand, while volumes of Satellite TV are still unmatched by any other application, revenues are stagnant for STB and low-end antennas.
“The Ground Segment has been one of the hardest-hit elements of the satcom value chain brought about by COVID-19,” stated Lluc Palerm, NSR Senior Analyst and report author. “Q2 was a disaster for many actors, and 2020 will close with revenues down by 18.6%. Deployments and new deals were halted due to travel restrictions, challenges with the value chain and caution with expenditures. However, this must not divert attention from long-term extraordinary potential. The recovery is already underway as infrastructure gets ready for future VHTS/Constellation launches. Backhaul and Consumer Broadband also see the cadence of deals accelerating, while ease of travel restrictions together with new business models like free-Wi-Fi boost demand for Mobility equipment.”
With the value in the industry climbing from ‘MHz’ to ‘Networks’, the Ground Segment must step up its game to enable SATCOM growth. The transition to 5G is critical in this sense, as satellite has an opportunity to become a mainstream technology, fully integrable with the terrestrial ecosystem.
Similarly, adoption of virtualization and the Cloud will minimize design and operation costs while allowing the scale and flexibility needed to meet the requirements of VHTS and constellations. However, the report notes that flat panel antennas (FPAs) continue to be the Achilles heel for mega-constellations, targeting the consumer broadband segment, as it is unclear how these antennas can be produced at cost levels that allow closing the business case.