Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023
Satellite Industry Forecasts Billion-Dollar Revenue for Direct-to-Device Connectivity

The satellite industry is recognizing the potential revenue and impact of direct-to-device connectivity, also called satellite-to-cell or NTN/non-terrestrial networks. While there is no consensus on the terminology, industry players are making bold projections for this type of connectivity.

Lynk Global CEO Charles Miller emphasized the need to use language that regular people can understand. He believes that the direct-to-device industry will be worth $1 billion in less than five years. Lynk already has contracts with 34 mobile network operators and has started beta services in three countries.

AST SpaceMobile, Lynk’s closest competitor, shares a similar business model of partnering with mobile network operators (MNOs) and sees similar market opportunities. Scott Wisniewski, AST SpaceMobile’s chief strategy officer, believes that end users will be willing to pay more for their phone plans to ensure constant connectivity. Although AST SpaceMobile has agreements with more than 40 MNOs, they do not generate service revenue from these agreements yet.

Omnispace’s chief corporate development and strategy officer, Jay Yass, envisions widespread connectivity in the next four to eight years, not just for cell phones but for any connected devices. Omnispace has signed agreements with 24 global mobile network operators interested in implementing 3GPP seamless augmentation to their terrestrial networks.

Yahsat, a UAE satellite provider, is also interested in entering the direct-to-device market. They recently released an RFI for a Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) constellation focused on direct-to-device connectivity.

Although there have been announcements of satellite-to-cell partnerships involving companies like Vodafone, T-Mobile, Apple, and Qualcomm, the adoption of this technology is still in its early stages. Companies like Lynk and AST SpaceMobile need to raise significant amounts of funding to deploy their full constellations. It is important for the industry to manage expectations and provide clear information to customers to ensure long-term success.