| Northern Sky Research’s (NSR) latest report on Flat Panel Satellite Antennas, forecasts cumulative Flat Panel Antenna (FPA) equipment sales to reach approx. $11 billion by 2028. NSR’s findings show that aeronautical equipment will drive revenue growth for manufacturers, while fixed broadband applications on Non-GEO satellites will be the main volume market.
Flat panel antennas have long been a niche alternative to parabolic systems, due to high costs and variable performance limiting market potential. However, with Non-GEO satellite constellations from OneWeb, SES, SpaceX, Telesat, and others, expected to come online after 2020, the industry has begun taking a strong interest in FPAs.
Speaking about the findings, Dallas Kasaboski, NSR Senior Analyst, and report author said: “Demand for connectivity in commercial aviation continues to grow, and the operating environment necessitates a low-profile design. This has been a key market driver for development of phased array technology for satellite connectivity.”
The complexity of staying connected on the move is expected to keep antenna prices and revenues high over the next decade, with NSR forecasting 94% of all revenues to come from mobile applications. Leading the way will be the increasingly-competitive aeronautical market, well-established government land-mobile vertical, and the fast-growing, high-potential, commercial land-mobile sector.
“NSR has long been quite critical of the ‘connected car’, understanding its potential and large addressable market, but keenly aware of the technological and business limitations. However, with improvements in technology, and a growing value chain supporting connected buses and trains, the report sees new light for satellite-enabled connected vehicles,” Kasaboski added.
While mobility drives revenues, fixed applications drive volume, with NSR expecting more than 1.4 million FPA terminals to ship for satellite broadband in 2028. “As the industry looks ahead to closing non-GEO business cases, the long ‘forgotten link’, ground segment, is seen as in need of a serious upgrade,” states Kasaboski. “Over the past year, several companies have announced plans to develop electronically-steered FPAs, including Alcan Systems, Isotropic Systems, and ViaSat; citing a need for multi-satellite tracking capabilities.”
Currently, twenty-three antenna manufacturers are in various stages of development and deployment of FPA solutions. NSR’s report details the progress of each and the growing maturity and partnership seen in the industry value chain, which will drive cost and performance improvements. This growing equipment ecosystem will allow for more successful business models and greater access to satellite communications worldwide.