09/09/20205 Minutes

GVF @ ConnecTechAsia – The Role of Satellite in 5G

Whilst the 3GPP 5G Standard Release 17 has been delayed it nevertheless will provide the confirmation of the setting of the stage for the development and deployment of a truly ubiquitous “network of networks” across the world, including in Asia-Pacific, the subject region of this webinar.

Produced as an adjunct to the GVF-Satellite Evolution Webinar Series, this webinar took as its focus the integration of 5G and satellite. The webinar explored the various facets of an evolving enabling environment and the strategies required to facilitate the promised 5G quantum leap, whilst simultaneously taking account of those perspectives that take a more cautious and conservative view of the tangible realities of 5G.

Undoubtedly, for satellite, the deployment of 5G networks will bring more business, more revenues. Just as satellite has had a major contribution in earlier and current generations of cellular/mobile networks, as a backhauling platform and extending networks reach, so this will continue but to a greatly elevated degree. Additionally, the promise of 5G – as a shift from a person-to-person to a device-to-device communications paradigm – brings greater business and revenue opportunities for satellite, the unique ubiquity of which is an imperative of a networked IoT world.

In viewing the video recording of this webinar, originally broadcast within ConnecTechAsia’s online virtual event platform on 30 September 2020, you will gain a clearer view of a range of perspectives from across the satellite industry – from a global condosat services company, to a regional satellite operator, to a manufacturer/vendor of satellite ground stations and related equipment. Panelists shared a generally positive view of the potential for, and opportunities presented by, 5G, but tempered by the realities of business rather than the hype of a new technology fever. Moreover, these perspectives are also grounded in the finely nuanced balance between opportunity and threat because, after all, satellite can only play its part in a global “network of networks” if it has the spectrum to do so. Accordingly, the satellite industry correctly does not want to yield any of that spectrum to the contiguous frequency claims – argued and illustrated as being wildly exaggerated and excessive – of the very MNOs which most certainly will not achieve their goals by negatively impacting satellite’s capabilities to execute its business.

Q & A continued….

The following questions were posed during the webinar but there was insufficient time to respond during the one-hour duration of the event. Thank you to our audience for taking an active part by asking questions, and to our panellists for their time to answer them after the webinar ended…


1. Is there any suggestion on 5G freq crash with C-band dishes?

Dr Edmund Kong: Most countries are looking at allocating Extended C-band (3400-3700 MHz) to 5G, C-band dishes will be interfered with. In order to continue to receive satellites signals in the standard C-band frequencies (3700-4200 MHz), filters will need to be installed on the C-band dishes. Another suggestion is for satellite operators to work with their regulators to allow them to continue to use C-band frequencies on a non-protected basis rather than completely vacate the frequency band. This will allow satellite to continue to offer C-band services until 5G is deployed in those areas (eg remote areas) as in the near term, 5G will only be deployed in high population density areas, such as city centers.


2. What can we expect in the near future as consumers?

Dr Edmund Kong: For satellite users, there will be less C-band capacity that can be offered. But I don’t expect consumers will need to pay more for satellite services as they will likely be offered to use higher frequency (Ku or Ka) services. Higher frequencies High Throughput Satellites (HTS) payload, such as that onboard M3d, offer much better capex efficiency compared to traditional C-band satellites.
For the mobile consumers, once 5G is deployed, expect to pay more for new handsets and improved services (e.g. lower latency). How much better is 5G over 4G LTE and how much of a difference consumers will experience – we will have to wait and see.