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Making satellite work for your business

Understanding the satellite service provider landscape.

Satellites are extremely high up in the sky. At 35,000km this is very high, and for some users this just embodies the "up in the air" and "impractical" nature of satellite technologies. In reality, though, the satellite industry is currently fast growing, very dynamic, and rapidly changing, with many innovations being launched or planned in the near future.

The question then is why a global industry will develop advanced technologies, more services, higher data rates, etc, while many users and target market sectors believe it doesn't offer an attractive value proposition to business.

Context, Context
The very first perspective we should consider to truly understand the satellite services industry is revenue, and revenue potential. Today, a satellite services network of 10,000 terminals is a big network, and at an average revenue of R2000 per site per month, will yield revenue of R240M. Now consider R86bn annual revenue. That is the equivalent of the published Vodacom annual revenue for 2018. Within the context of typical revenue of large telco's, satellite projects are 0,2% of the revenue – or less.

Add to this the requirement for special satellite skills, very focussed product development teams, and customised marketing efforts, then it is rather obvious that the satellite services business case for large telco's is not very attractive.

Yet at an expected product revenue of R200M, plus the need for specialised help desks, field implementation support team, marketing campaigns and well-trained sales teams, it is by no means a small operation either. For certain, it is not within the scope of the general regional metro service providers.

Basically, satellite is too small for the big telco's and too big for the regional or national service providers.

Satellite business case is too small for the big telco's and too big for the service providers.

The loudest voice
In the digital communication era, and within the very saturated marketing landscape we all live in, we can accept that the biggest voices, and the most expensive marketing campaigns, get the messages across to the general market. We all know about 5G, and LTE+, and all the other jargon, not necessarily because we have studied the subject matter, but because we were simply flooded with this as part of the mobile network marketing campaigns.

So, if you don't know about the latest advances in the satellite industry, and GEO's, LEO's, MEO's, HTS, Ka-band and all of that jargon is rather foreign to you, it doesn't necessarily mean it is not relevant to you. It simply means it is part of the very niche field of satellite services and will not be included in the mass campaigns of the big telco's. You also now understand why it will never be included.

The way forward?
Now that we understand that satellite is big business, just not big enough for the national telco's, and we understand that because we don't hear about satellite doesn't mean it is not relevant, we can move ahead and resolve some business problems very effectively.

Step one is to find your satellite service provider of choice.

Satellite networks are no longer about just contracting some satellite space segments, buying a hub and installing some remotes. These networks have become very, very specialised. With layer2-over-satellite capabilities, data rates of 70Mbps using 2,4m terminals and full-mobility options, you are best serviced by a service provider that specialises in satellite and niche technologies. Delivery of these services is 50% about network engineering and 50% about service delivery. It includes field implementation resources as well as 24/7 remote monitoring capabilities, etc.

Today satellite products are specialist managed services best delivered by service providers with the right satellite engineering and delivery skills.

Do the right thing and find the specialist service provider with the skills, experience and capabilities to deliver value to your business.

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