ESA endorses Sateliot for 5G IoT

  • October 26, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

The European Space Agency (ESA) has endorsed Sateliot, the company that will launch the first constellation of low-orbit nanosatellites to provide 5G coverage for the IoT.

Through the Future Preparation Generic Programme line of the Artes programme, the ESA has endorsed Sateliot and its partner Gatehouse and 3GPP contributors to connect IoT standard devices from its LEO constellation.

“Tests have been conducted that have demonstrated the successful operation of a set of NTN NB-IoT protocols compliant with the recent 3GPP Release 17 NTN NB-IoT standard developed by Sateliot,” says Xavier Lobao, head of the ESA’s future telecommunication projects division responsible for the programme that supported the testing.

This statement represents an industry endorsement of the company’s project to launch its satellite constellation. In addition, this technology will make it possible to extend 5G NB-IoT connectivity to any area of the planet where there is no terrestrial coverage, without operators having to make changes to their hardware and at a low cost.

This milestone thus endorses a process that began just over a year ago when 3GPP included the scenario that Sateliot pursues, which contemplates low-orbit nanosatellite networks providing IoT services, in its portfolio. 3GPP is the body that periodically brings together the main players in the telecommunications sector to define the different wireless communication standards.

The importance of this technology is based on the premise that operators will be able to interoperate. They will be able to connect with the nanosatellite network using a roaming service when they need 5G coverage to offer connectivity and follow, for example, the cargo of a moving ship, the trajectory of a mountain biker or alert emergency services in the case of an accident.

Its approval has also received a broad consensus from the main operators, companies and institutions throughout the value chain including satellite operators, mobile operators, network providers and device manufacturers, including companies such as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, China Mobile, Sony, Nokia, Ericsson, Eutelsat and Siemens.

For Jaume Sanpera, CEO of Spanish firm Sateliot, this news is “an important recognition of our work, long and complex at a technical level, and also comes at a crucial time for our company, immersed in the preparation of the launch of its first constellation of satellites and in the run-up to the opening of the B series, from which we expect to raise €100m”.