5G: Can the Satellite Industry Take Advantage?

Editor's note for the May 2016 edition of Via Satellite

As winter fades, and Spring starts to set in, one thing you can always guarantee at this time of year is that the satellite industry is in full bloom and optimistic for the year ahead as they look to attack new markets. Satellite operators are always looking for new business opportunities, new areas where satellite can make a difference, that “next big thing.” Every year, there seems to be a hot market that particularly excites our industry. Last year, the talk of SATELLITE 2015 was the Internet of Things (IoT), and this year it seemed as though the big opportunity that got everybody excited was 5G.

As mobile operators rollout these superfast networks, this could create more opportunities for satellite players, particularly in hard to reach areas. The world is becoming more mobile, and more data hungry and while the industry often competes against the mobile industry at WRC events for spectrum, it also presents a number of revenue-generating possibilities when these operators rollout new networks.

In this edition of Via Satellite, we look at another vertical that the satellite industry considers to be hot right now: maritime. In this feature, we talk to shipping companies about their needs for connectivity and what the connected ship will look like going forward.

We also have an in-depth feature about broadband in Africa. Going alongside this feature, we have an interview with Ryan Wallace of Facebook, who talks about how the company sees satellite and how it could use it even more going forward to connect the un-connected. We also have a wrap-up of our Via Satellite Excellence Awards, where we gave out a number of awards to deserving people and companies across the industry.

5G was described on the Opening General Session panel at SATELLITE 2016 as a “once in a generation opportunity” for the satellite industry. I will be interested to see whether it indeed shapes up that way. VS

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