Operators search for new satellite solutions

Operators search for new satellite solutions

A ‘new style’ of telecoms across Europe means the satellite industry is now starting to
converge with the mobile industry, claims Avanti Communications’ CEO.

Speaking to Mobile, David Williams explained that while telecoms has always been an ‘afterthought’ in the satellite sector, the needs of mobile operators are now merging with the capabilities that satellite technology can offer.

He said: ‘The satellite industry has suddenly become more relevant to the mobile industry; it’s all about new levels of quality that the technology can offer. The operators can be more aggressive in deploying infrastructure further and further away from big cities, helping cancel out the existence of not spots. Every operator gives some regard to the geographic areas they can’t cover because the governments and consumers who use them all have good reasons to have universal coverage – our technology makes it easy to deliver that.

‘We pioneered this market by being the first to design a satellite network specifically to serve telecoms companies. The mobile phone industry has used satellite before for back haul but those satellites were designed for TV. Telecoms was always an afterthought in the satellite industry.’

High-quality networks

Describing Avanti as a ‘great British success story’, Williams said that the company works with mobile operators, providing them with high-frequency bandwidth. He explained that high-frequency bands mean that networks can carry more data at a lower price. Satellite networks have traditionally been built on a high-quality network, with Williams explaining that Avanti is now using these high-quality features for mobile networks.

He said: ‘Avanti brings a new style of telecoms to the European region. In general we help operators sort out problems at the end of their networks – we’ll never be involved with the core infrastructure, but we help networks with towers and base stations that have problems. We link network’s data up to a satellite using backhaul. We’ve been doing satellite backhaul on WiFi network for years and we’re finding more companies are deploying WiFi networks. It is a market that is growing very quickly and seems to be an area of endeavour.

‘We provide backhaul to three operators. It’s a combination of supply and demand; the mobile network operators are all seeing vast increases in demand for data passing across their networks. As soon as you put a smartphone in someone’s hand they try to download video. Whether you are in Kensington or Kenya it doesn’t matter – we all want to do the same thing. The supply of network infrastructure to meet demand varies massively; every operator wants to have coverage that is as broad as possible to capture that demand.’

Rural reach

Williams explained that the challenge facing mobile operators at the moment is how to connect customers as they move further away from a city. Underground cables are normally used to connect users to base stations to provide a signal, however while this method works in cities, it becomes difficult to maintain to rural areas.

Avanti solves this problem by using satellites – instead of cables. Williams said: ‘The solution is to put a satellite dish on your base station; it takes one hour to install. Pretty much every mobile operator is now talking to us, we invested in our own technology, it’s brand new.

'This technology has only been live for two years and mobile operators are all very focused on keeping a high quality of service up and running. For this reason they are very careful in making sure that the tech being offered does a good job for them. Providers are looking at incorporating our tech into the mobile networks. We’re never going to be the biggest supplier of backhaul in the heart of mobile operators. We won’t compete with cable, which is the best choice for cities, but outside the big city Avanti satellite is the appropriate choice.’


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