Sunday, 17 October 2021

IoT player Ingenu launching 72 LEO satellites for global coverage

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 01 October 21

The company hopes to build the “world’s largest space industrial IoT network” for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications

Earlier this week, IoT specialist Ingenu announced that it had signed an agreement with space transportation tech company Phantom Space Corporation to build and launch 72 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites).  This new satellite constellation, to be known as AFNIO, will allow Ingenu to offer satellite connectivity anywhere on the planet, focussing primarily on low power wide area network (LPWAN) applications using Ingenu’s random phase multiple access (RPMA) technology…

Earlier this week, IoT specialist Ingenu announced that it had signed an agreement with space transportation tech company Phantom Space Corporation to build and launch 72 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites). 

This new satellite constellation, to be known as AFNIO, will allow Ingenu to offer satellite connectivity anywhere on the planet, focussing primarily on low power wide area network (LPWAN) applications using Ingenu’s random phase multiple access (RPMA) technology. This solution uses the 2.4 GHz band, universally available as a continuous frequency around the world, and is already active in 50 terrestrial networks around the world.

Ingenu explained that the constellation’s initial focus will be on delivering connectivity for various large-scale public and enterprise customers, including smart grids; factories; agriculture; oil, gas, and mining; and asset tracking and logistics.

“We'll be able to build and operate a system of satellites that makes it possible for us to offer people full end-to-end solutions anywhere on earth and complement existing customers' terrestrial networks. Nothing of the sort has ever been done up until now,” explained Ingenu CEO Alvaro Gazzolo.

It goes without saying that LEO satellite constellations are becoming an increasingly prominent part of the telecoms ecosystem. But while a large part of this is due to the high-profile nature of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, which is by far the largest project of this type, numerous other players have also been growing. 

In fact, Ingenu’s journey somewhat mirrors that of UK-based LEO player OneWeb, which is currently in the process of expanding its own constellation to provide global coverage. OneWeb filed for bankruptcy in March 2020, but since then has recovered through a slew of rapid investment, initially from the UK government and Bharti Airtel, before adding additional funds from SoftBank and Hughes Network System among others. 

Overall, OneWeb’s investment now stands at over $2.4 billion, with the company expecting to have launched 648 satellites by the end of 2022.

Ingenu, while decidedly a terrestrial IoT player, was facing similar financial troubles back in 2017 as it struggled to expand its network in the US. By the summer of 2019, however, things were looking up, with Ingenu relaunching with a ‘2.0’ message about the suitability of its LPWAN tech for the industrial sector. At the time, the company said it had a $2 billion pipeline of contract value, with Gazzolo claiming they offered “the best IoT technology in the market today for the non-licensed spectrum”. 

Now, with this satellite deal, Ingenu’s scope will be larger than ever.

A recent study released by Research and Markets found that the global LPWAN market is expected to grow by 84.3% between 2021 and 2029, owing largely to the increasing adoption of IoT and M2M applications. Smart buildings currently account for around 28% of this market, but it is actually the utility sector that is likely to see the most rapid growth, expected to account for 23.3% of all LPWAN applications by 2029.

 

How will the growing satellite ecosystem impact the wider telecoms industry? Find out from the experts at this year's Total Telecom Congress

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America Movil spins off towers, merges Chilean unit

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