Connectivity is Taking off

🌍 The future of connectivity is taking off—literally! While today’s 7.86 billion 4G LTE customers rely on terrestrial towers, a new era is emerging: non-terrestrial networks (NTN), or towers in the sky. 🚀

There are 2 camps forming: 5G-NTN and Direct to Cell.

🛰️5G NTN: Inmarsat, EchoStar, Sateliot, Omnispace, Skylo (uses Inmarsat) and others are planning on using a new 5G-NTN specification that allows frequency bands compatible with existing satellites to be part of 5G. The advantage is that existing satellites can be used. The downside is that almost no existing mobile devices support these frequencies and so all hardware will have to be replaced.

📡 Direct to Cell: SpaceX, AST Space Mobile and others are launching new satellites that are compatible with existing 4G LTE equipment. These satellites will work with the existing 7.86 billion 4G LTE devices already in the market. SpaceX has announced partnerships with carriers worldwide including Optus in Australia, Rogers in Canada, One NZ in New Zealand, KDDI in Japan, Salt in Switzerland and Entel in Chile and Peru.

Looking at the cellular modules that are being launched by manufacturers Quectel, u-blox, and others, 5G-NTN versions are being paired with low data rate services like CAT-M1 and NB-IoT. Direct to Cell supports these services but also has a roadmap to voice and high speed data. Starlink in particular is expecting commercial voice and data services in 2025. Both technologies are being tested now, with first commercial low-bandwidth offerings expected in Q4 2024.

Senquip is watching the market carefully and has both 5G-NTN and Direct to Cell offerings in design. The compatibility with existing hardware and faster speeds promised by Direct to Cell is particularly exciting. With six new Direct to Cell satellites launched just this week, it’s definitely one to watch!

#senquip #IIoT #5GNTN #Direct2Mobile