Viasat, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global leader in satellite communications, and Skylo Technologies, the leading non-terrestrial network (NTN) service provider, announced the launch of the world’s first global direct-to-device (D2D) network. The companies’ global infrastructure agreement will, for the first time, allow Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), device makers and chipset manufacturers to take 3GPP Release 17 compliant products to market, within Viasat’s global network coverage.
Combining Skylo’s industry-first Release-17-based satellite technology with Viasat’s geostationary, L-band satellite constellation and licensed spectrum holdings (through its subsidiary, Inmarsat), as well as those of other satellite operator partners, the new network will support consumer smartphone services and unlock the potential for massive Internet of Things (IoT), automotive and defense applications.
The combination of the network with MNO and chipset manufacturer collaboration will provide new opportunities for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that wish to embed connectivity into their smartphones, wearables, vehicles, machinery and other devices. IoT solution providers stand to gain access to ubiquitous connectivity and economical hardware to scale their solutions globally.
Food producers, miners and logistics businesses will gain access to enhanced connectivity experiences, through cellular or satellite, without the need for proprietary satellite hardware, reducing end-user costs and contributing to the optimization and sustainability of global production and supply chains.
The new network will utilize Viasat’s global L-band capabilities as well as partner satellite operator networks. L-band is widely known for its reliability and is trusted by governments to deliver mission-critical data, ensuring Viasat’s and Skylo’s D2D network will be capable of securely delivering data to serve the needs of businesses, governments and out-of-reach consumers. Viasat’s geostationary licensed L-band network is also ideally suited for delivering D2D services and will not require the use of terrestrial spectrum or global regulatory changes or approvals.
Initial deployments are planned for early 2024 in North America, using the Ligado SkyTerra satellite network, followed by a global rollout. Partners and customers will be able to access the services through Viasat or Skylo.
Andy Kessler, Vice-President, Enterprise and Land Mobile at Viasat, said: “Our agreement with Skylo marks a pivotal point for global connectivity. There is now the framework for a global narrowband non-terrestrial network with unique levels of resilience, that can support the innovation of MNOs, chipset manufacturers, OEMs and IoT solution providers, as they come together and build next-generation solutions for businesses, governments and consumers. The global production and supply chain will now gain access to data from the remotest edge, where it is often-most valuable, with the same level of effort as they would in a city connected by cellular 5G.”
Anton Monk, Vice-President, Wireless Initiatives at Viasat, said: “We are delighted to work with Skylo and our launch partners to deliver a global network, which will unleash the potential of direct-to-device connectivity for all. This network is available for testing today and will enable global market entry for innovators. Building the network on L-band geostationary satellite technology means it doesn’t require special licensing of terrestrial spectrum and by utilizing the 3GPP standard there is assured interoperability, particularly as exciting new Releases follow Release 17.”
Tarun Gupta, CPO and Co-Founder of Skylo, said: “This collaboration with Viasat represents an inflection point in the evolution of connectivity. By merging our groundbreaking 85+ patents and 3GPP Release-17-based satellite technology with Viasat’s extensive geostationary network, spectrum capabilities and partnerships, we are unlocking a world of unprecedented connectivity. This network is not just a technological breakthrough; it’s a catalyst for inclusive, global innovation – bringing high-quality, affordable connectivity to every corner of the planet, revolutionizing industries from agriculture to transportation, and enhancing lives in both urban and remote communities.”
Original link: https://www.satcom.digital/news/viasat-and-skylo-technologies-launch-first-global-direct-to-device-network