Satellite Telephones Market - Global Industry Insights, Trends, Outlook, and Opportunity Analysis, 2016–2024

Satellite telephones or Satphones, provide telecommunication connectivity through orbiting satellites, instead of conventional terrestrial cellular networks. These phones are similar to conventional phones, with the added advantage of providing uninterrupted connectivity in remote locations and in sensitive areas, where all forms of communication are subjected to censorship. These are mainly used by military personnel deployed on the field and other government agencies based in sensitive locations.

Strong network infrastructure in mission critical applications is the prominent factor driving growth of the satellite telephones market

According to New England Journal of Medicine’s Report, incidences of natural disasters have witnessed steady increase, with the global climate change, since the 1970s. These climate related calamities such as floods, storm surge, coastal flooding, tropical cyclones, and cold/heat waves apart from causing large-scale destruction, these disrupt and conventional land-based cellular networks. Growing concerns regarding these inadvertent incidences, and the necessity of preparedness in case of emergencies is expected fuel growth of the satellite telephones market. Military forces, public safety agencies and disaster management teams are expected to be the primary consumers, owing to the requirement to coordinate their activities in case of such emergencies.

Satellite Telephones Market Taxonomy

On the basis of type of product, the global satellite telephones market is classified into:

  • Geosynchronous
  • Low-Earth Orbit

On the basis of application, the global satellite telephones market is classified into:

  • Defense
  • Maritime
  • Aviation
  • Energy
  • Others (Public safety agencies, disaster management, and tourism)

Technical limitations such as dead spots in the network and low voice quality are expected to be the major factor hampering the satellite telephones market growth

Satphones function on an entirely different network infrastructure through radio wave propagation. Owing to these connectivity is distorted inside the buildings or any structure where the view of the horizon is obstructed. Functioning of these products requires retracted antennas, owing to which user cannot reliably receive phone calls, when the phone is in pocket or bag packs. Moreover, calls to these phones from public networks can be very costly. Dead spots in the network, relatively lower voice quality in comparison to cellular networks, and latency are few other technological drawbacks that may negatively impact the global demands.

Growing defense expenditure will provide solid growth platform to the satellite telephones market over the forecast period

U.S. is expected to remain the most potential region for growth prospects, owing to it being the largest spender on defense. Moreover, commercial applications in the region have witnessed significant increase owing to increasing tourism to foreign remote locations in South America, Asia and Africa. Choices of prepaid and postpaid options, no roaming costs and internet enabled devices will propel the commercial consumer inclination towards these satphones market

Media, tourism and other forms of venturing business operations have witnessed significant growth in the Asia Pacific and Middle East over the past few years. Requirement to cope up with the lack of efficient conventional network coverage, expensive roaming rates, and severe government restrictions and scrutiny imposed on all forms of communication in certain countries in MEA and Asia Pacific are expected to provide substantial growth prospects for players in the global satellite telephones market. However, considering the large volume of expenditure in the sector are expected to position the defense and maritime industry as the largest end user segment over the forecast period.

Participants are increasingly investing to enhance user experience through long battery life, rugged design, and integration of navigation systems such as GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, and Galileo in the devices for increased functionality. For instance, in November 2016, Thuraya introduced its Thuraya XT PRO DUAL, that combines satellite and GSM SIM cards.

Key industry participants include Inmarsat, Iridium, Globalstar, TerreStar, Thuraya, Nice Trip, and SPOT Global Phone. Leading market participants are adopting off the shelf marketing strategies in order to obtain competitive edge. For instance, in May 2014, Globalstar announced ‘Free Phones For All’ campaign, to enhance its consumer base in North Africa and Europe. Other key players that include Inmarsat and Iridium, are increasingly focused on global network coverage, low-cost devices availability and compact product designs for increasing their market shares.

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