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Wireless Backhaul via Satellite Shifts From Fixed Towers to Mobility Platforms

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A report on the use of wireless backhaul via satellite finds an emerging industry shift from serving traditional Fixed Land Towers in rural areas of developing markets to Mobility Platforms such as cruise ships, container vessels and commercial airlines.

"The global satellite backhaul market is expected to grow to $1.9 billion in 2020, more than three-fold from today's $640 million revenue base," according to the author Jose Del Rosario, Senior Analyst for NSR. "Although terrestrial technologies have penetrated more than 75% of the globe's wireless subscribers, satellite-based backhaul continues to see a strong market." Del Rosario notes, "Mobility Platforms are not only expected to pick up any slack, but drive future opportunities in areas where a need for connections on-the-move are desirable."

However, Fixed Land Tower opportunities still exist. While deployments driven by CAPEX and OPEX considerations have led to a dwindling niche for satellite solutions, new programs such as High Throughput Satellites (HTS) have entered the fray, and the upcoming entrance of O3b is a potential game changer. These new programs will lead to a re-examination of the Fixed Land Tower market, potentially creating more dynamic growth overall.

NSR forecasts growth from less than 30,000 units in-service in 2010 to close to 85,000 by the end of 2020. Accounting for only 20% of the installed base in 2010, Mobility Platforms are expected to represent over 55% of all installations by 2020.

The largest growth opportunities lie in the maritime market. The cruise industry dominates the segment, both in terms of installed units and bandwidth needs. In addition to standard voice, the cruise industry also leads in high rate data and video applications.

Although Mobility Platforms are likely to grow more robustly, opportunities in Fixed Land Towers should continue, with the most cost-effective programs winning out.

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Tags: backhaul  satellite