The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has noted a steady increase in the use of satellite services to deliver 5G connectivity, although it stressed that the non-terrestrial network (NTN) sector is still in its early development stages.

By the end of March, ten operators in various countries and territories had commercially launched 5G services using satellite, marking significant growth compared to three markets in the same period of 2023 and eight operators by the end of August 2023.

In its latest report on the 5G NTN and satellite market, the GSA highlighted 77 publicly announced partnerships between mobile and satellite service providers in 43 countries and territories.

The primary focus of the broader 5G NTN sector is currently on providing rural coverage, which constitutes “57 per cent of all identified partnerships” involving satellite connectivity. Additionally, 34 countries or territories are either evaluating or have already launched services.

GSA President Joe Barrett predicted a rise in “operator and satellite provider partnerships” in the “coming months and years,” with many services currently in the planning stages.

Barrett stressed that the increasing demand for broadband, voice, and data services, coupled with advancements in direct-to-device technology, will prompt more operators to extend their services to rural areas.

He also highlighted the growing interest in providing connectivity following natural disasters, particularly when terrestrial networks are disrupted.

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