Mobile Satellite Communications Markets: Dynamics and Trends
The first commercial mobile satellite service (MSS) system was implemented to meet the urgent needs of the maritime community for improved communications. As enhancements occurred in satellite technology and circuit integration resulted in availability of low-cost digital signal processors, MSS systems were deployed to support smaller earth terminals for aeronautical and land mobile applications. The growth of the Internet and improved wireless access has led existing MSS system operators to introduce new capabilities that include improved data and multimedia access. This transformation in the MSS markets has offered several technology challenges, particularly with higher power spot beam satellite deployment designed to operate with low-cost personal user terminals.
This chapter addresses the history and evolution of the technology starting with the Marisat system in the 1970s. This historical review covers both the space technology and user terminals, as well as the market characteristics of the various types of MSS systems. Some systems have not been successful in the market and have not done well financially for reasons associated with market demand, cost, and reliability of service and technology. Currently, there is a convergence of terrestrial wireless services with mobile satellite services. One approach has been to offer dual frequency band handsets that switch from one band to the other depending upon whether the user is within the terrestrial system’s coverage. The other approach is for the MSS system operator to support both satellite and terrestrial coverage in the MSS frequency bands to achieve seamless operation for the user. The demand for very high data rates for better Internet access had also led to a convergence of MSS and FSS system capabilities, where many of the capabilities of an MSS are being offered by FSS system operators and vice versa. Fortunately, continuing innovations are assuring mobile users the availability of reliable communications from anywhere in the world.
KeywordsAeronautical Mobile Satellite Service (AMSS) Ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) Asia Cellular Satellite System (ACeS) Complementary ground component (CGC) Geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) Globalstar Satellite System Hybrid Satellite Systems ICO Satellite System Inmarsat Satellite System International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Iridium Satellite System Land mobile satellite service (LMSS) LightSquared Low earth orbit (LEO) Marisat Maritime Mobile Satellite Service (MMSS) Medium earth orbit (MEO) Mobile satellite services (MSS) MSATs SkyTerra-1 Thuraya Satellite Systems Very small aperture terminals (VSATs) World Radio Conference
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