One of the most striking aspects of the opening morning of World Satellite Business Week (WSBW) in Paris was seeing just how much consolidation there has been in the industry over the last few months. Recent deals include Speedcast’s agreement to acquire GlobeComm, as well as Yahsat acquiring Thuraya. But, there are many others. A number of financings have also been closed in the NewSpace sector over the last 12 months with companies like Spire. Relativity Space and World View are also making significant finance announcements. The pace of change is clearly speeding up. One of the most intriguing possibilities mooted in Paris was the possibility that a big telecoms operator could look to buy satellite assets (in essence, a satellite operator) in this new IOT world we will all be living in sooner rather than later. But, is that realistic? It would have seemed outlandish not so long ago, but according to a number of investment bank sources, it is an actual possibility, although it seems some way off yet.
But, as the satellite industry looks to find its role in this new fragmented communications eco-system, it seems as though anything is possible. What seems obvious now is that the GEO world that has dominated the satellite industry for decades will never do so again as satellites get smaller, faster to build, and with more capabilities. It is an exciting time for the industry, but perhaps also a bit terrifying. Satellite has always marketed itself as a strong and stable industry. But, stability is on the verge of collapsing. The industry is about to undergo one of the most seismic changes in its history. Things are about to get interesting.