The satellite communications is likely to experience turbulence in the next few years due to the emergence of new networks, intense competition and shifting customer demand patterns. Credit: Euroconsult

PARIS – The biggest question in the satellite communications market is the potential value of the direct-to-cellphone business.

Given the number of people who lack reliable terrestrial network connectivity, the addressable market is worth “$100 billion or even more,” Euroconsult managing director Nathan de Ruiter said Sept. 11 at the World Satellite Business Week conference here.

It’s unclear, though, how long it will take for the direct-to-cellphone market to develop given significant challenges in terms of device compatibility, spectrum availability and service affordability. Many of the people who live outside terrestrial networks have little disposable income.

In spite of all that uncertainty, this is “clearly one of the key market opportunities for our sector,” de Ruiter said.

7X Surge

In terms of current satellite communications opportunities, Euroconsult’s anticipates “exponential growth in global capacity,” de Ruiter said.

Fixed satellite service capacity is expected to surge sevenfold, from 28 terabits per second in 2023 to 195 terabits per second in 2028. Nongeostationary orbit constellations like Starlink and Oneweb are expected to provide much of the additional capacity.

Expanded supply will create downward pressure on pricing.

Video Demand

Satellite service revenues are also climbing. Euroconsult expects the value of the global satellite services market to jump from $107 billion in 2022 to $123 billion by 2032.

Specifically, Euroconsult anticipates data-services revenues nearly tripling, from $19 billion in 2022 to $53 billion in 2032. Video demand, meanwhile, is likely to dip about 20 percent from $88 billion to $70 billion.

In spite of the generally optimistic forecast, Euroconsult sees turbulence ahead as a result of intense competition, a rapidly changing ecosystem and rising insurance costs.

De Ruiter called the string of recent anomalies in geostationary orbit “unprecedented,” adding that problems experienced by the Astranis-built Arcturus satellite, Inmarsat 6 F2 and Viasat-3 Americas “clearly will impact the insurance market.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...