Satellite opportunities for India in 2021
Thomas Choi, Founder and Executive Chairman. AirspaceIX, delivered the keynote on satellite opportunities for India in 2021 at the ongoing SIA (India) conference on the emerging trends in satellite communications. AirspaceIX is involved in the creation of next-generation wireless broadband platforms and technologies.
There is a $100 billion LEO race going on. Current LEOs are not for 3.2 billion users. Current LEO offerings fail to deliver for the emerging markets. It costs lot of money for MPUs. The economies of developing countries are much lower. Subscribers cannot get an expensive user terminal. There is room for more entrepreneurs. Satellite terminals consume 100-200W of power. It is either unavailable or very expensive in developing countries. At $1,200 per year, they exceed GDP/capita of many developing countries. Mobile tariffs are about $0.20 per byte. We need to create a solution that works for us.
The current total addressable market for wholesale leasing of satellites is $12 billion. It will double over the next 10 years. GEOs are stable, and don’t move. Terminals for GEOs need 25W power. The amount of bandwidth from a GEO is much higher than a LEO system. Densification of broadband from GEO is much higher.
The first opportunity for broadband in India should be through GEO satellites. However, not everything is rosy with the GEO operators. There are fiscal pressures, bent pipe satellites, high debt/EBITDA, competition from LEO HTS, HTS satellites have significant capex, there are falling revenues and EBITDA, current wide beam satellites are becoming obsolete, and de-levering
debt is also priority.
There are new investment opportunities. India and Asia are emerging areas. Indonesia has a national drive to provide broadband to all. India has to invest and bring up rural communities via GEO. In India, the pent-up demand is so high that the leading VSAT companies providing data services will be enough to drive capacity through GEOs.
There is now an opportunity for Indian space communications. India has well defined regulations for new GEO FSS entrants. There can be partnerships with foreign slot operators. New regulations are there for foreign and domestic NGOS services. There can be more made in India satellites, LVs, and ground terminals.
India can also attract local and global investors. It can immediately increase GEO spectrum that can be put over India for data and broadcast services. NGO can provide unlimited capacity. It will be easier to develop HR, while connecting with the rural communities. LEO systems should be regulated. India should follow the FCC example. We feel that all of you can share the spectrum. The GEO arc is one line in the sky. The NGO can provide capacity for everyone.