OQ Technology is planning to grow its constellation from three to 10 satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) this year. The move will turn the company into the largest 5G NB-IoT satellite operator in the world.
In addition to the previously announced MACSAT and PHI-Demo satellites, OQ Technology has ordered five additional 6U nanosatellites, Tiger-4 to Tiger-8, to add to its constellation. Concluding the launch of the first batch, all remaining satellite launches are planned for this year with the final ones, pending launch conditions, possibly going into orbit in early 2024.
Three of the satellites, Tiger-4, Tiger-7 and Tiger-8, will be built by Lithuanian mission integrator and bus manufacturer Kongsberg NanoAvionics who also built Tiger-2, Tiger-3, and MACSAT. Tiger-5 and Tiger-6 will be built by satellite manufacturer Space Inventor from Denmark. The 5G NB-IoT payloads will be provided by OQ Technology and integrated into these platforms. OQ Technology will also be responsible for operating the satellite constellation as well as managing the ground network, service, spectrum access and licensing.
With the added satellites, OQ Technology will significantly enhance its 5G NB-IoT non-terrestrial networks (NTN) satellite connectivity service based on 3GPP for non-terrestrial networks (Release 17). The increased capacity and revisiting times will in particular serve customers in both the energy and asset tracking market.
Speaking about the plans, Omar Qaise, Founder and CEO of OQ Technology, said: “Having pioneered satellite-based 5G NB-IoT connectivity and launched our constellation before anybody else did, we are now cementing our position as the leading 5G NB-IoT satellite operator in the world.
“Being well ahead in the 5G IoT non-terrestrial networks market, we are continuing the expansion of our global coverage, entering new markets and accelerating the build-up of our constellation. The planned launches for this year will conclude our Batch 1 deployment, with Batch 2 already in preparation.”
Qaise added: “It is thanks to a faster construction of our payload, and our 5G NTN technology being developed in-house that OQ Technology is able to massively and quickly expand its constellation.”