Written by Rajat Srivastava, Analyst – BIS Research
The 5G technology has the potential to radically transform the role of telecommunication technology in the day-to-day lives of people. The use of 5G technology can further lead to economic growth, along with digitalization of a connected society. The USP of 5G technology is that it is resilient, ubiquitous, and unlimited.
Combination of 5G and satellite technology can bring in disruption in the communications and satellite industry by creating several opportunities such as backhaul, trunking, mobility, and hybrid network. The backhaul in the network will enable connecting remote areas through satellite communication and will increases the ease of recording data and communication. Trunking will further enable gathering data from remote location by enabling data sharing over certain frequencies.
Framework of 5G Architecture
The 5G architecture is witnessing several innovations and technological upgradations, such as virtualization and automation, faster speed, and low latency, and continuous IoT support, accompanied by frequent satellite launches.
Enhanced channel bandwidth: To reduce the latency in data transfer and to optimize speed, higher frequency channels are being used. The target of 5G satellite communication is to remove latency with a target of 1ms.
Better speed: Ideally, the 4G network allows 1Gbps of download speed, whereas 5G allows around 20 Gbps. However, the challenges associated with this speed includes limitations imposed by carriers. Keeping in mind the current infrastructure, a 5G network is expected to deliver approximately 5 to 10 times more data at a speed of 10 Gbps.
Satellites assisting 5G network reach: One of the major challenges of 5G bandwidth is overcoming the lower signal strength. Satellite technology can help the 5G network to reach remote areas. Also, satellite technology can help areas with limited population help gain access to 5G networks, even with no availability of basic broadband and mobile services.
Frequent satellite launches: Till December 2020, over 90% of the U.S. satellites were used for commercial requirements and the launches are expected to increase in future. It is expected that an increased number of satellite constellations will be launched as part of the 5G network establishment to fulfill the 5G latency requirements for all industries.
Constant IoT support: One of the most ambitious goals of 5G is to aid the expansion of devices encompassing the Internet of Things (IoT). Owing to the advancements in frequency, more devices can transmit data without causing performance issues.
The major benefits and disadvantages associated with satellite communication is commonly known to the fraternity. For instance, satellite communication supports extensive geographical connectivity coverage without necessarily deploying fixed infrastructure, including cable links. This makes 5G satellite communication an efficient solution for rural and remote area coverage.
Further, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to pay satellite providers, such as Intelsat SA, to release airwaves for implementing 5G mobile network, and, in turn, sell these airwaves through public auction to providers.
5G Satellite Communication Market Estimation
As per the market intelligence published by BIS Research, the 5G satellite communication market is estimated to be around $1.31 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a significant CAGR of 28.91% during the forecast period, 2021-2030. This growth of the market is sustained by the increasing demand for higher bandwidth and low latency from end-use industries, including aviation, transportation & logistics, and consumer electronics. As, these end use industries are struggling to provide optimum performance on current communication network technologies, along with present bandwidth, and are struggling to provide optimum performance to their users.
5G Satellite Communication End-Use Industries and Orbits Used
Aviation, consumer electronics, energy, and heavy industries, among others, have been rapidly evolving, for current network bandwidths. The consumer electronics industry is growing owing to the rising demand for high-speed browsing for different consumer devices, such as smartphones, coupled with lower latency AR/VR devices, causing a higher market penetration.
Further, the different types of orbits for the 5G satellite communication market include low earth orbit (LEO), medium earth orbit (MEO), geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO). LEO-based satellites have higher market penetration as the amount of investment required for manufacturing a small satellite is incomparably low to the capital required for manufacturing a large satellite. For instance, China launched the Yinhe-1 commercial 5G satellite into low Earth orbit in mid-January 2020.
5G Satellite Communication Spectrum Used
The different types of spectrum bands that support the 5G satellite communications include L and S band, C and X band, and Ku- and Ka-band. C and X bands are expected to be the prominent frequency band for the 5G satellite communication services. As the low-frequency spectrum of C band its capability is to potentially serve low bandwidth applications such as pulsed, continuous-wave, dual-polarization, single-polarization, and synthetic aperture radar.