Via Satellite: Viasat and Skylo to Launch Direct-to-Device Service

Viasat and Skylo to Launch Direct-to-Device Service

Viasat is launching direct-to-device satellite service with Skylo and Ligado’s SkyTerra satellite network. Thursday marked an official announcement from Viasat after a non-binding MoU in March.

Skylo has a tech stack that connects standard IoT devices directly to satellite, compatible with 3GPP release 17 standards. Skylo has been operating its service over Inmarsat’s L-band satellites since 2021. Now post-Inmarsat acquisition, these satellites are part of Viasat’s network.

This official rollout means that Skylo has access to Viasat’s global L-band capabilities, including Viasat’s local and global partners, like Ligado. Initial deployments are planned for early 2024 in North America, using the Ligado SkyTerra satellite network, followed by a global rollout. Partners and customers can purchase the services through Viasat or Skylo.

Viasat said this will 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 for the first time. The company highlighted the opportunity for original equipment manufacturers to embed connectivity into smartphones, wearables, vehicles, machinery, and other devices.

“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,” commented Andy Kessler, vice president of Enterprise and Land Mobile at Viasat. “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.”

The release did not mention any particular OEMs, but Skylo has agreements with a number of OEMs and chip manufacturers, including one with Qualcomm for its Qualcomm Aware IoT chips.

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