Surging demand for satellite data services, Euroconsult forecast

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PARIS – Euroconsult expects satellite communications services revenues to reach $1.2 trillion over the next decade, as growth in data services offsets declines in the video market.

“The total share of data in satcom services revenue is expected to grow from 15 percent to 42 percent by 2031,” Nathan de Ruiter, Euroconsult Canada managing director, said during the first day of the World Satellite Business Week conference here.

In the United States, customers are continuing to turn away from traditional direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television subscriptions. While that service is still growing in some African and Asia-Pacific markets, the subscriptions are not as lucrative on a per-customer basis.

“To replace one single DTH customer in the U.S. you need to sign up 20 new DTH customers in India,” de Ruiter said. “The good news is all the other market segments are expected to see strong growth in end-user adoption, from consumer broadband to the mobility markets.”

Euroconsult sees the potential for emerging services, including satellite-to-cellphone and autonomous vehicles, to generate additional revenues. Those services will be made possible, in part, from dramatic changes in satellite communications infrastructure both in space and on the ground.

“We see clear investments into the multi-orbit software-defined networks that have to be fully integrated into the 5G world,” de Ruiter said.

After years investment and technical innovation, software-defined satellites are becoming the norm, accounting for more than 70 percent of recent geostationary satellite orders. Euroconsult expects the next generation of broadband satellites to include some software-defined features.

Satellite communications companies are preparing for the integration of satellites with terrestrial 5G networks by forming alliances with cloud-service providers and creating industry standards.

At a time of dramatic change in the satellite communications market, Euroconsult expects companies to expand revenues by introducing new services, attracting additional customers for existing services and cutting costs.

“There is so much room for growth,” de Ruiter said. “Only 10 percent of the universal broadband access market is currently penetrated by satellite and below 20 percent of the addressable mobility market is currently captured by satellite.”

Reducing the cost of satellite communications services is one way to attract new customers. The quest for savings is likely to spur further consolidation.

On the satellite manufacturing side, Euroconsult expects “large incumbents to acquire new entrants and component suppliers to better control the supply chain,” de Ruiter said.

Consolidation already is underway among satellite fleet operators and service providers. Viasat is buying Inmarsat. Eutelsat is merging with OneWeb.

In contrast, the satellite services sector is full of small companies.

“We would expect that markets like mobility and aero will be the first one where we’ll see consolidation happen, but it could also expand into the fixed broadband market,” de Ruiter said.