UKTIN spoke to Tim Hatt, Head of Research at GSMA - a non-profit industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide - to learn more about NTN, discussing his trend research and reports.
- Please talk us through your role at the GSMA.
I work in the GSMA Intelligence Group, which is our analyst arm. I manage the research and consulting team. Within this, we write reports and research across the industry but this spans a lot of sectors. We have both a global remit as well as a lot of regional topics that we cover.
- You’ve been working on some NTN reports. Please tell us more.
We are working on a big satellite trends report across the industry, which will be named Global Trends. This analysis will cover some of the commercial momentum in NTN that we are currently seeing, alongside the use cases and some revenue forecasting from us. The plan is to publish before the Mobile World Congress in February. (The paper will be available on UKTIN.)
Our main NTN report was published in October. This is a much more detailed report. We worked with partners, detailing the companies in the marketplace and the trials that are happening, including StarLink and OneWeb, explaining how we see this as a model that can be emulated.
Our main finding is the growing level of dealmaking happening. The satellite telco partnerships we track now cover a subscriber footprint of over two billion people. Secondly, we’re seeing improvements in the cost structure of satellites. It is easy and faster to come to market. Attached to this is the resurgence of direct-to-device service, which has created a competitive battleground. In terms of financial uplift, we think NTN can cumulatively add $35 billion a year to the telecoms sector by 2035. That’s a sizable increase of around two-and-a-half per cent.
- Have you noticed any NTN trends emerging?
We are seeing a convergence between satellite companies and telecom operators. They want to work together to close the coverage gap. Direct-to-device being incorporated into the telecoms standards has also made it easier for day-to-day people to access. Another trend is the selling of satellite connectivity to industries outside of the consumer market such as healthcare, logistics, manufacturing and many others.
- What are your predictions for 2024?
Commercial momentum. I think we will see partnerships out of trials come into launch. There will be much more noise from the handset makers around their incorporation of NTN into the device. I expect we’ll also hear more from the operators about how they are finding NTN…