By 2026, the global satellite IoT subscriber base will reach 21.2 million – SatNews

According to a new research report from IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, the global IoT satellite communications market is growing at a rapid pace. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global satellite IoT subscriber base exceeded 3.9 million in 2021. The number of satellite IoT subscribers will grow at a rate of compound annual growth (CAGR) of 40.3% to reach 21.2 million units in 2021. 2026.

The number of IoT satellite subscribers at
reach 21.2 million in 2026

Only about 10% of the Earth’s surface has access to terrestrial connectivity services, leaving a huge opportunity for satellite-based IoT communications. Satellite connectivity provides a complement to terrestrial cellular and non-cellular networks in remote locations, especially useful for applications in agriculture, asset tracking, maritime and intermodal transportation, oil and gas industry exploration , utilities, construction and governments. Incumbent satellite operators and more than two dozen new initiatives are now betting on the IoT connectivity market. This new study covers a total of 44 satellite IoT operators.

“Iridium, Orbcomm, Inmarsat and Globalstar are today the largest satellite IoT network operators”, said Johan Fagerberg, Principal Analyst at Berg Insight. Iridium grew its subscriber base by 21% over the past year and reached the top spot with 1.3 million subscribers. Originally a dedicated satellite operator, Orbcomm has evolved into an end-to-end solutions provider, providing services over its own satellite network and being a reseller partner of Inmarsat and others. At the end of 2021, the company had 1.1 million satellite IoT subscribers on its own networks and on Inmarsat’s networks.

At the same time, Globalstar reached 0.42 million subscribers. Other players with tens of thousands of connections include for example Kineis in France and Thuraya in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to the incumbent satellite operators, a number of new initiatives have recently appeared on the market. Examples of large scale projects are Astrocast, AST SpaceMobile, CASC/CASIC, E-Space, Fleet Space Technologies, Hubble Network, Kepler Communications, Kineis, Ligado Networks, Lynk, Myriota, Omnispace, Skylo, Swarm Technologies (SpaceX) and Total.

Many of them are based on concepts of nanosatellites in low Earth orbit. While some rely on proprietary satellite connectivity technologies to support IoT devices, many are beginning to leverage terrestrial wireless IoT connectivity technologies, including OQ Technology, AST SpaceMobile, Omnispace, Sateliot, Galaxy Space, Ligado Networks, Lynk, Skylo and Starlink (3GPP 4G/5G); EchoStar Mobile, Fossa Systems, Lacuna Space and Eutelsat (LoRaWAN); Hubble Network (Bluetooth); and Eutelsat (Sigfox). “Terrestrial technologies will grow in importance over the next five years and collaborations between satellite operators and mobile operators exploring new opportunities for hybrid satellite-terrestrial connectivity such as the recent T-Mobile/SpaceX agreement will become common”concludes Mr Fagerberg.

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