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Viasat, Ligado, and Partners Establish Association to Integrate Satellite with Mobile Devices
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Viasat, Ligado, and Partners Establish Association to Integrate Satellite with Mobile Devices
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 09, 2024

The formation of the Mobile Satellite Services Association (MSSA) marks a significant stride towards enhancing global connectivity through the emerging Direct-to-Device (D2D) and Internet of Things (IoT) services. Leading entities in the satellite communications sector, including Viasat, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), Terrestar Solutions, Ligado Networks, Omnispace, and Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PJSC (Yahsat), have come together to establish this non-profit industry consortium.

The MSSA's mission is to harness over 100 MHz of L- and S-band spectrum-already allocated and licensed for mobile satellite services (MSS)-to build a robust global ecosystem that integrates seamlessly into a wide array of mobile devices.

The Association's alignment with 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards is a critical move to broaden terrestrial mobile coverage, including for Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and Over-the-Top (OTT) internet services.

This strategic initiative underscores the inherent advantages of MSS licensed spectrum, such as the capability for existing space networks to instantly provide Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) services, adherence to an established international regulatory framework, non-interference with terrestrial networks, and the provision of additional spectrum to propel 5G New Radio (5G-NR) services forward. Importantly, MSS spectrum allows all MNOs to seamlessly offer space/terrestrial integrated services across their entire service areas without compromising terrestrial spectrum resources.

The collaborative efforts of MSSA's founding members aim to facilitate the integration of terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks (NTNs), thereby ensuring scalable, sustainable, and universally accessible connectivity. By fostering a diverse Direct-to-Device ecosystem, the Association is set to catalyze competition and innovation across various sectors, including cellular, industrial, government, agriculture, automotive, and more. This inclusive approach aims to bring together a wide range of solution providers, from terrestrial mobile and satellite operators to OEMs, infrastructure and chip vendors, among others.

Mark Dankberg, Chairman of the MSSA and Chairman and CEO of Viasat, emphasized the transformative potential of integrating satellite connectivity into consumer mobile devices. He highlighted the coalition's unified approach as a pivotal force in actualizing this new marketplace, ensuring that it respects the sovereignty of nations while engaging in the rapidly expanding space economy.

Dankberg's vision for the Association includes creating opportunities to scale NTN systems through open, standards-based solutions for D2D and IoT, while preserving essential MSS aviation and maritime safety services.

The Association has outlined several key objectives to guide its efforts:

+ Developing interoperable architectures and standards for multi-orbit satellite systems, ground infrastructure, and end-user equipment.

+ Enhancing seamless global roaming between terrestrial and multi-orbit satellite networks through the development of recommended specifications.

+ Coordinating among MSS operators to effectively utilize over 100 MHz of global MSS spectrum, thereby achieving scale and maximizing the utility of these resources.

+ Employing sustainable network design and operation practices to enable affordable advanced NTN services.

+ Advocating for rational and sustainable use of spectrum and orbits, while supporting the integration of space networks into national telecommunications infrastructure and the broader space economy.

By providing a neutral forum for the coordination of 3GPP NTN and other international standards activities, MSSA aims to facilitate the integration of space networks into national telecommunications infrastructures. This approach not only supports the expansion of the new space economy but also ensures that individual nations can actively participate through open standards and architectures.

Related Links
Mobile Satellite Services Association (MSSA)
Satellite-based Internet technologies

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