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Navigation satellites provide positioning and timing data to an ever-expanding user base. Today, they represent one of the most widely used space assets, through navigation and smartphone terminals or government applications.

A ubiquitous asset in our society, providing safety, performance and leisure capabilities

Today, navigation satellites are omnipresent in our society. They provide information about positions, routes, speed and timing, and are used by an extremely wide range of users in every economic sector, such as precision farming, transport, banking systems, mobile applications, emergency services, etc. Navigation signals are freely emitted by public entities, and their exploitation drives significant economic activity including the manufacture of chipsets and devices, as well as sales of services and applications, which generated global market revenues estimated at €94.8 billion (~$110 billion) in 2015.

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Different navigation systems, improving the existing infrastructure

The first Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) available for civilian use was the US Global Positioning System (GPS), which is exploited by most of the navigation signal applications commonly used today.

Since then, other GNSS have been deployed, such as the Russian Glonass, the Chinese Beidou-2 (former Compass) and the European Galileo, which is currently ramping up to reach operational capability at the end of the decade.

Other satellite constellations like the Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) and the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) provide regional signals. In addition, regional augmentation systems, such as the WAAS in the United States or EGNOS in Europe, are improving the accuracy and reliability of the signal: these are used for demanding applications (e.g., air transportation).

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The GNSS market and the legal framework

With the development of GNSS devices and services, providers are exposed to liability risks in terms of privacy, frequency management, or legal responsibility for satellite guided vehicles. Regulations such as the eCall for European cars, combined with the availability of the Galileo Commercial Service (CS) high precision signal, should lead to greater adoption of navigation services.

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Pushing for greater accuracy

The development of multi‑constellation receivers (compatible with multiple GNSS signals) is expected to result in greater uptake by end users and enhance performance in terms of accuracy and integrity. In addition, navigation signals will have to resist jamming and spoofing threats.

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Capitalising on existing markets

Location-Based Services (LBS) and in-vehicle equipment are undergoing significant development, with LBS benefiting from the fast growing apps market. GNSS-enabled businesses (device manufacturers and service providers) are not expected to change greatly in the years to come.

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Changes in demand

End-user demand is expected to grow in the years to come, especially for high-precision and indoor positioning. Augmented signals enable cross-market applications such as precision farming, oil and gas exploration or fleet management. Emerging economies represent fast‑growing markets with resource management and weather monitoring needs.

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Our specialised service offering


  • Market assessments of critical GNSS component supply chains
  • Assessments of market opportunities for regional augmentation system deployment
  • Assessments of high‑precision signal exploitation business models

Socio-economic impact assessments

  • GDP impact assessments of GNSS programmes
  • Impact assessments of risks associated with signal spamming and spoofing
  • Socio-economic impact of EU navigation activities

Governance & Operations

  • Support for critical project and programme recovery
  • Organisational and operational efficiency evaluation and optimisation
  • System life-cycle assessments and management
  • System architecting


  • Assessments of regulatory impacts on GNSS markets
  • Impact of budget changes on a GNSS programme

Selected credentials

System prime for second generation Galileo satellites

With the implementation of the Galileo Second Generation in 2021 in sight, PwC identified a set of possible prime management options for the development and procurement phases. The recommendations were based on a strengths & weaknesses analysis, development of implementation options, establishment of roadmaps, and estimation of implementation and transition costs.

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Evaluation of future GPS disruption for US terminal/system manufacturer

As commercial and military navigation is changing at such a fast pace, our client recognised that its own GPS-enabled navigation systems may be at risk for disruption. PwC Strategy& evaluated the gamut of current and projected changes to future navigation technologies and their potential to disrupt our client’s technology, allowing our client to begin positioning itself accordingly.

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Market assessment of strategic GNSS components

Given the critical role played by Atomic Frequency Standards (AFS) in GNSS, PwC was mandated by the European Commission to provide policy action recommendations to reduce atomic clock supply chain risks and implement double sourcing for critical Galileo AFS components. PwC conducted several analyses including a technological analysis and a market assessment to provide information for a risk analysis, a GPS case study with US experts, and a gap assessment for the creation of a fully European supply chain.

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Market entry for the Middle East/ North Africa

PwC assisted a satellite company in its goals to deploy a satcom and navigation system covering the Middle East and North Africa. We evaluated market conditions and technical and procurement requirements.

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

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Luigi Scatteia

Luigi Scatteia

Associé Consulting - Responsable activité spatiale, PwC France et Maghreb

Tel: +33 1 56 57 58 46