Satellite connectivity and telecom operators may be poised to converge

Telecom operators are increasingly adopting satellite technology for global mobile coverage, with focus on direct-to-cell solutions.

: Telecom operators are converging with satellite companies to provide extensive global coverage. Direct-to-cell capabilities are a major focus, particularly in remote areas. Major companies like Starlink, Eutelsat OneWeb, and China's CASC are significant players.

The telecom industry is increasingly viewing satellite connectivity as a comprehensive service rather than a supplementary option. GSMA Intelligence's latest report highlights the market shift as satellite and mobile networks converge, offering considerable business opportunities in consumer and B2B sectors.

Ninety-one telecom operators globally have partnered with satellite firms to provide low-Earth-orbit (LEO) coverage, reaching 5 billion mobile users. These partnerships focus mainly on backhaul networks and direct-to-device services, with nearly 45 percent targeting direct-to-cell connectivity.

Most partnerships aim to extend connectivity in remote or underserved regions, along with applications in maritime and emergency scenarios. Leading players include Starlink with a vast satellite constellation, Eutelsat OneWeb, and China’s CASC, all working towards enhancing global satellite connectivity.