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For 5G to Benefit Everyone, Satellite Needs to Complete the Global Virtual Network

Satellites are an integral part of the 5G future says Jean-Phillipe Gillet, Vice President and General Manager, Broadband, Intelsat.

The telecoms sector is pushing the development of 5G, the next-generation network that will bring higher speeds, higher capacity and lower latency. The benefits for the end users are numerous, as 5G can transform mobile phones into even more powerful computers that deliver virtual and augmented reality services; connect billions of small, inexpensive, lower-power devices in the Internet of Things; and enable the connected and driverless car. The only limits to 5G look to be the imagination of the telecoms sector and the users.

Companies across the telecom sector are moving rapidly to roll out 5G, with promises of launches in 2018 and broader deployments in 2019. GSMA is predicting that 5G will support 1.1 billion connections by 2025, and the Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts that Asia Pacific will emerge as the 2nd fastest growing region for 5G, with 10% of all subscriptions being 5G in 2022.

5G will be a network of networks – an eco-system – with multiple technologies supporting a global infrastructure: satellite, Wi-Fi/WiGi , small cells and traditional mobile wireless networks, among others. The satellite sector has a particularly important role to play bringing services to users – from dense urban areas to remote geographies – quickly.  Quite frankly, without the reach and scalability of satellite, large areas of the globe will be left out of the 5G world, furthering exacerbating the gap between the connected and the unconnected.

Satellites have always been synonymous with global communications and connecting the unconnected. And as the telecommunications industry undergoes a massive transformation to meet the unprecedented demand for broadband connectivity, the satellite sector is deploying innovative technologies that have improved economics and performance.

This includes the introduction of high-throughput satellites, such as the Intelsat EpicNG platform that entered service in 2016. Wireless operators and telecom infrastructure providers in countries from the Americas through Europe and Africa and into Asia are already benefitting from these next-generation services, as the broadband connectivity delivered on a national and continent-wide basis allows users to expand their communications networks, build new businesses and enable critical connectivity services.

As an integral part of the 5G future, these next-generation high-throughput satellites provide continuous, affordable, high-performance broadband to support billions of connections. With technological advances in ground terminals matching the improvements in orbit, this has significantly increased throughput where the satellite sector is poised to meet a variety of business segments to meet the growing demand for broadband connectivity – anytime and anywhere to complement the 5G revolution. Intelsat is active in 5G planning because our customers are active. We are involved in various areas (e.g. the ESA 5G Task Force/ CEPT /WGFM) related to 5G,  IoT and communications on the move, with land based Earth stations in-motion (e.g. the connected car and train).

We see satellites, especially Intelsat EpicNG, playing a critical role in terms of broadband infrastructure – from cell backhaul applications to enterprise networks to new applications such as the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine operations.  5G will have a profound impact on the telecoms sector and the world’s population, and satellite will play a critical role.

Learn more from Intelsat at 5G Asia 2017, where Senior Principal Marketing Manager for Global Initiatives, Melvyn Chen, will be presenting case studies in 2G/3G/4G cellular backhaul deployment over satellite in developed and developing countries in Asia.

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