Communications

Satellites play a vital role in global communications. Although the market is relatively established, the sector is still subject to changes in demand from private and institutional end users that require the development and application of new business models and technologies.

Satcoms: the primary use for space assets

Over the past 50 years, use of satellite communications (satcoms) has skyrocketed to become the most important space sector domain, based on various indicators such as mass launched into orbit or revenue generated by satcom players. In the midstream, each of the top three fixed-satellite service (FSS) operators generated more than €1 billion (global market of $107 billion) in revenue. Services derived from telecommunication via satellite, such as television and internet via satellite, are among the most lucrative in the space industry. 

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The importance of satellite communication for the global economy

Satcoms are critical to a wide range of business, government and leisure activities. Compared to terrestrial infrastructure, satcoms provide an unmatched level of availability, coverage, confidentiality and resilience. The numerous applications derived from communication satellites provide public and private stakeholders with solutions for continuity, safety and accessibility.

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Many promising markets still to be developed

The development of human activity in both urban and rural areas is resulting in a growing need for an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure. Satcoms are increasingly identified as strategic infrastructure for the development of communication networks, often interfaced with terrestrial solutions. In addition, new markets, such as M2M, in‑flight connectivity or Ultra HD, are expected to sustain the satcom market.

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A market open to global competition

Historically, governments controlled the satellite telecommunication sector through public intergovernmental organisations. The sector was largely privatised in North America and Europe, and today, private operators control most of the satcom market. Although local operators are still controlled by the government in Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa, most of the global market remains open, in contrast to the captive domestic public markets that normally exist in other segments of the space sector.

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Business and technological challenges derived from a growing demand for bandwidth

The international business environment of the satellite telecommunication sector is relatively stable with a few leaders holding the majority of market shares.

However, big established players are locked in intense competition to enhance their leadership at the expense of their main competitors. Global connectivity needs are the major driver for the growing demand for bandwidth, pushing operators to expand the capacity of their satellites (e.g., by increasing the number of transponders) and to introduce technological innovations (e.g., high throughput satellites).

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Our specialised service offering

Strategy

  • Evaluation of business cases for innovative satellite operator go-to-market strategies
  • Evaluation of business cases for satellite constellations
  • Analyses of satcom operator aftermarket segment potential
  • Assessment of the external growth potential of satellite players resulting from diversification strategies

Socio-economic impact assessments

  • Assessments of the potential impact on the satcom manufacturing industry of new platforms, such as high altitude drones and balloons
  • Impact assessments of governmental satcom programmes

 

Governance & Operations

  • Technical and economic product portfolio performance evaluation and optimisation
  • Deployment of design-to-cost best practices
  • Implementation of “good-enough” engineering models
  • System engineering through requirement and configuration management
  • Definition of levers to foster collaboration between satellite operators and capacity buyers
  • Impact analyses of the use of digital tools to support mega-constellation series production

Selected credentials

Assessment of the satellite communication capacity requirements of emergency services

PwC worked with the European Commission on its assessment of the needs, design and implementation of the GOVSATCOM programme dedicated to satellite communications for emergency service organisations (maritime, police, civil protection, humanitarian aid and external action services). Our conclusions led to a strategy based on scenarios involving proprietary satellites, satellite constellations, the leasing of capacity or services, and pooling between European countries

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Business case and strategy evaluation for OEM vertical integration to SATCOM services

PwC Strategy& conducted a detailed market assessment to determine how a globally leading satellite manufacturer might enhance its position across the value chain. We compared alternative strategies and associated business cases to determine which would offer the greatest returns with lowest risk to the existing manufacturing business. We combined the firm’s strategy, operations, corporate finance and digital capabilities to evaluate the full implications of the opportunities, which directly influenced the client’s corporate strategy decisions.

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India market entry

PwC has supported both Tier-1 space systems suppliers and is seeking to enter the Indian market. This involved the evaluation of numerous use cases, competitive positioning, and playbooks to inform entry strategies.

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Middle East / North Africa new SATCOM operator

PwC Strategy& developed the green field business case to start up a new operator serving the Middle East/North Africa region. We engaged with institutional and commercial stakeholders on market dynamics, business strategy, operations, and technical details.

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Photo: NASA | ESA | CNES | SpaceX | Blue Origin | RocketLab | Maxar Technologies

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Contact us

Luigi Scatteia

Associé, Directeur, Space Practice Leader, PwC France

Tel: +33 1 56 57 58 46

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