Low-earth-orbit Data Communications Satellites to Support 5G Backhaul

LeoSat BV, who is launching a constellation of up to 108 low-earth-orbit data communications satellites, has signed a Joint agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) and 15 satellite industry leaders to collaborate on “Satellite for 5G”. The new satellite constellation will provide a high-speed, low-latency, ultra-secure global network for the mobility market by expanding coverage & moving to 5G.

ESA and the European space industry are joining forces to develop and demonstrate the added value that satellites bring in the context of 5G.

With data traffic predicted to increase almost 4 fold by 2020 (to 4 ZettaByte per year), one of the key challenges for the mobility sector is achieving scalable, flexible solutions for their expanding networks. Backhaul for mobile networks is crucial to ensure speed and capacity for data transportation from distributed network sites to the network core. Now with the new developments in satellite constellations, a next generation low earth orbit systems such as LeoSat can provide the guaranteed level of connectivity, resilience and security required by 5G for significant sectors of industry.

As part of an ESA “Satellite for 5G initiative” foreseen over 2018-2020 and beyond, ESA and the European space industry will work together on:

  • 5G service trials, including satellite capabilities, with a focus on selected sectors targeted by 5G, so called “Verticals”, such as transport, media & entertainment, and public safety;
  • transversal activities in the areas of applications development, standardisation, resource management aspects, interoperability demonstration campaigns, and supporting technologies;
  • outreach activities.

The Joint Statement advocates for further convergence between European industry and institutions on 5G, which will also be re-iterated at the ESPI-ESA Conference on “Space and Satcom for 5G: European Transport and Connected Mobility” on 27 and 28 June 2017. The Joint Statement was signed by Magali Vaissiere, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, and representatives from 16 satellite operators, service providers and manufacturers.