The GSMA, the trade organisation designed to represent the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, has added low-Earth orbit (LEO) nanosatellite constellation operator Sateliot as an operator member.
Sateliot is launching the first LEO satellite constellation based on the 5G IoT standard, allowing commercial unmodified cellular IoT devices to connect to 5G services from space. This is claimed to be the first time in history that cellular terrestrial telecom is merging seamlessly with satellite connectivity.
The company said the use of what it calls cost-effective technology and the possibility to use commercial low-cost (<$5) devices to connect to satellites opens “infinite” possibilities in the untapped market of massive IoT in remote areas, and that’s in line with its mission to make IoT connectivity available everywhere and to everybody.
Sateliot’s network is designed to provide coverage in areas where traditional terrestrial connectivity is limited or non-existent, such as remote locations, crop fields, mountains or oceans. The standard protocol will allow massive deployment of 5G IoT services without captivity risks or inflated prices.
In January 2023, Sateliot entered into a partnership with internet of things (IoT) provider Sensefinity for asset tracking to launch global 5G-IoT satellite connectivity for sea containers, facilitating data transmission from 1,000 smart containers that could save medium shipping companies up to $1.4m per year on maintenance and repairs.
Sateliot said its constellation will democratise access to non-terrestrial network internet of things, demonstrated first by being a major contributor to the 3GPP standard and now by joining GSMA as an operator. “We are thrilled to have become a GSMA member,” said company CEO Jaume Sanpera.
“It is a fantastic milestone we’ve accomplished: we are the first LEO satellite operator to have standard roaming agreements with global MNOS and MVNOS.”
Through its new arrangement, the company is now signing standard roaming agreements with any mobile network operator (MNO) and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that is also a member of the GSMA. MNOs and MVNOs can now extend their 5G IoT cellular coverage everywhere on the planet by signing a standard roaming agreement.
Unmodified narrowband internet of things cellular devices that are currently being used can now be deployed in remote areas as well, where there is a lack of terrestrial cellular infrastructure. Users can maintain their current SIM card and switch seamlessly between terrestrial and satellite networks to gain connectivity regardless of where they are.
The GSMA’s stated mission is to drive the growth and development of worldwide mobile communications and provide industry leadership and advocacy.
“We are seeing significant developments in the area of satellite communications, and we warmly welcome Sateliot as a member of the GSMA,” said GSMA chief marketing officer Lara Dewar. “We look forward to having them join the GSMA’s Wholesale Agreements & Solutions Group to work collectively and gain from the benefits of our membership.”