Mobile Sat Revenue Expected To Increase

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PARIS — Global mobile satellite revenue will grow by 7 percent per year over the next 10 years while the number of mobile satellite service subscribers will grow by 13 percent annually, according to a forecast by the Euroconsult consultancy of Paris.

Driving the growth in the number of devices will be small machine-to-machine (M2M) devices, whose cost will decline as their volume increases.

M2M subscribers typically pay much lower monthly fees for their low-data-rate gear than do subscribers to satellite telephones and higher-speed two-way data units. That would explain the sharp difference in growth rate between revenue and subscribers.

The Euroconsult report, “Mobile Satellite Communications Market Survey — Prospects to 2020,” estimates that the six major mobile satellite operators generated $1.38 billion in wholesale revenue in 2010, a figure that includes some hardware sales. This will grow to more than $2.2 billion in 2020, the report says.

Subscriber units, which by 2020 could include devices as small as coins to keep track of fixed and mobile assets, numbered 2.4 million in 2010 and should reach 7.8 million in 2020, according to the report.

Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya accounted for 90 percent of the revenue in 2010, according to Euroconsult.

Inmarsat and Iridium are both building next-generation mobile satellite constellations, as are Globalstar and M2M specialist Orbcomm.