How direct satellite-to-device connectivity can transform the satcom sector How direct satellite-to-device connectivity can transform the satcom sector
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How direct satellite-to-device connectivity can transform the satcom sector

How direct satellite-to-device connectivity can transform the satcom sector

Direct satellite-to-device technology opens the door for satellite services to go mainstream and leverage mass-market equipment production

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Direct device to satellite Ali Al Hashemi is the CEO of UAE’s satellite solutions provider, Yahsat Group

Direct satellite-to-device (D2D) connectivity has been one of the most ambitious endeavours of the satellite communications industry for many years. Today, that initiative is being translated into a commercially exciting reality.

To appreciate why this is such a game changing development for the satellite industry, it is important to explore what D2D is and its impact on different industries.

Put simply, D2D connectivity is provided directly to an individual’s mobile phone or any standard mobile device — allowing people to be ‘mobile’ while using services. This means users can communicate directly with the satellite without the need for a terrestrial gateway. In some cases, the end user may be seamlessly connected to a satellite without realising that they are connecting through space.

Direct satellite-to-device technology is a transformative development. It enhances mobile network operators’ (MNOs) access to new customer segments through satellite communications, providing satellite operators the opportunity to secure connectivity for existing mobile customers, when roaming out of range of their terrestrial mobile signal.

In other words, D2D enables a standard device that is located outside terrestrial coverage to roam the satellite network, opening the door for satellite services to go mainstream and leverage mass-market equipment production and distribution ecosystems. In my view, this breakthrough will result in a paradigm shift within key segments, such as IoT, consumer handheld, and many more.

At present, the industry stands at an inflection point with the development of new technologies linked to D2D that can help cover key coverage gaps globally. The D2D strand of satellite connectivity will enable telcos to address the coverage challenge — a lingering barrier for over 5 per cent of the global population, as well as businesses in industries ranging from agriculture to manufacturing.

The reality is that despite significant advancements in terrestrial network coverage, large swathes of the world’s population remain out of range for mobile and internet access.

Combining those living out of network coverage with those living on the ‘edge’ of coverage — or those whom we categorise as receiving limited or weak signals — this lack of connectivity impacts 570 million people, or 8.7 per cent of the adult population.

By reaching this segment of the population, the D2D market has a total incremental connectivity revenue opportunity of multi-billion-dollar opportunity by 2035, making it both commercially compelling and socially impactful.

As a satellite solutions provider that has long recognised the potential for D2D, Yahsat has been investing in the enabling infrastructure that will support the wide scale deployment of D2D in the region and across our operating markets to play a key role for the satellite and broader telecom industry.

The future of D2D is bright and pioneers within this segment will be able to collectively contribute to the industry’s fundamental ambition of connecting and empowering people. Direct satellite-to-device connectivity offers the industry a bridge to connect underserved communities, increase roaming coverage, and improve long-term capacity for businesses.

Embracing this technology will allow us to further deepen our impact as an industry and give the power of connectivity to the millions who need it.

Ali Al Hashemi is the CEO of UAE’s satellite solutions provider, Yahsat Group

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