Today at the 2021 Mobile World Congress (MWC) Los Angeles CA, Verizon and Amazon announced a strategic collaboration that will combine Verizon’s 5G wireless network with Amazon’s Project Kuiper constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The first offering from the new partnership will backhaul Verizon’s cell sites through Amazon’s LEO satellites, enabling Verizon to offer fixed wireless access (FWA) in unconnected rural or underserved areas.
As part of the collaboration, Project Kuiper and Verizon have begun to develop technical specifications [1.] and define preliminary commercial models for a range of connectivity services for U.S. consumers and global enterprise customers operating in rural and remote locations around the world.
Note 1. There are no 3GPP specifications or ITU recommendations for the use of LEO satellites for 5G (IMT 2020/ITU-R M.2150) backhaul. Therefore, new carrier specifications are needed for 5G RANs to use LEO satellite networks for backhaul.
However, 3GPP is planning to include non-terrestrial networks (NTN) and to address satellite’s role in the 5G vision in their Release 17 package of specifications, to be released next year. You can read an overview of 3GPP NTN’s here.
ITU-R SG 4 is responsible for Satellite services. That includes Systems and networks for the fixed-satellite service, mobile-satellite service, broadcasting-satellite service and radiodetermination-satellite service. In particular,
ITU-R WP4B carries out studies on performance, availability, air interfaces and earth-station equipment of satellite systems in the FSS, BSS and MSS. This group has paid particular attention to the studies of Internet Protocol (IP)-related system aspects and performance and has developed new and revised Recommendations and Reports on IP over satellite to meet the growing need for satellite links to carry IP traffic. This group has close cooperation with the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector. Of particular interest are:
- Terms of Reference for Working Party 4B Correspondence Group on satellite radio interface technologies for the satellite component of IMT-2020.
- Working document towards a preliminary draft new Report ITU-R M.[XYZ.ABC] on Vision and requirements for satellite radio interface(s) of IMT-2020
Amazon’s Project Kuiper is an initiative to increase global broadband access through a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) around the planet. The system will serve individual households, as well as schools, hospitals, businesses and other organizations operating in places where internet access is limited or unavailable. Amazon has committed an initial $10 billion to the program, which will deliver fast, affordable broadband to customers and communities around the world.
The Verizon-Amazon partnership seeks to expand coverage and deliver new customer-focused connectivity solutions that combine Amazon’s advanced LEO satellite system and Verizon’s world-class wireless technology and infrastructure. To begin, Amazon and Verizon will focus on expanding Verizon data networks using cellular backhaul solutions from Project Kuiper. The integration will leverage antenna development already in progress from the Project Kuiper team, and both engineering teams are now working together to define technical requirements to help extend fixed wireless coverage to rural and remote communities across the United States.
Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg said, “Project Kuiper offers flexibility and unique capabilities for a LEO satellite system, and we’re excited about the prospect of adding a complementary connectivity layer to our existing partnership with Amazon. We know the future will be built on our leading 5G network, designed for mobility, fixed wireless access and real-time cloud compute. More importantly, we believe that the power of this technology must be accessible for all. Today’s announcement will help us explore ways to bridge that divide and accelerate the benefits and innovation of wireless connectivity, helping benefit our customers on both a global and local scale.”
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said, “There are billions of people without reliable broadband access, and no single company will close the digital divide on its own. Verizon is a leader in wireless technology and infrastructure, and we’re proud to be working together to explore bringing fast, reliable broadband to the customers and communities who need it most. We look forward to partnering with companies and organizations around the world who share this commitment.”
This partnership will also pave the way for Project Kuiper and Verizon to design and deploy new connectivity solutions across a range of domestic and global industries, from agriculture and energy to manufacturing and transportation. The Kuiper System is designed with the flexibility and capacity to support enterprises of all sizes. By pairing those capabilities with Verizon’s wireless, private networking and edge compute solutions, the two will be able to extend connectivity to businesses operating and deploying assets on a global scale.
Betsy Huber, President, The National Grange said: “The agriculture industry is going to see dramatic changes in how it operates and succeeds in the next several years. Smart farms, bringing technology to agriculture, and connecting the last mile of rural America will be at the forefront of helping our industry to provide food for billions around the globe. Ensuring connectivity in rural areas will be key to making these endeavors a success. We’re excited to see the leadership from both companies working together to help take our industry to the next level.”
Financial analysts at New Street Research said the opportunity could be worth billions of dollars to the two companies. Specifically, they argued that Verizon’s wireless network currently does not cover around 7 million Americans. “If 50% of these people become Kuiper/Verizon customers and assuming Verizon’s phone ARPU [average revenue per user] of ~$60, there could be $2.4 billion in annual revenue,” they wrote.
Amazon and Verizon have previously teamed up to serve customers across many industries, including integrating Verizon’s 5G Edge MEC platform with AWS Wavelength and forming the Voice Interoperability Initiative. This collaboration builds on the relationship between the two companies, and lays the groundwork for Amazon and Verizon to serve additional consumer and global enterprise customers around the world.
Executives from Verizon and Amazon hinted that backhaul is only the start of the companies’ new partnership. They noted that Verizon’s plan to use Amazon’s LEO satellites is just the latest in a long line of pairings between the companies stretching from edge computing to private wireless networks.
“We’ve worked with Verizon on many complex projects over the years,” Amazon SVP David Limp said during a keynote presentation at MWC LA. Limp said Amazon continues to design and build its LEO satellites at the company’s Redmond, Washington, offices.
Verizon’s Chief Strategy Officer Rima Qureshi suggested Amazon and Verizon would explore other offerings beyond cell-site backhaul in the future. She said the companies would pursue “joint solutions” for large enterprise customers in industries stretching from agriculture to energy to education. She also said Verizon and Amazon would look for opportunities both domestically and internationally.
Qureshi noted Verizon’s deal with Nokia to deploy a private 5G network for Southampton in the UK – the largest of the 21 Associated British Ports. She suggested an Amazon-powered satellite component to that offering could extend connectivity beyond the port and into the ocean.
A spokesman for Verizon told Bloomberg it’s a global partnership with Amazon and it’s open to exploring similar deals with other companies, but declined to comment on the finances of the deal.
5G wireless telco’s deals with LEO satellite companies:
This new alliance between Verizon and Project Kuiper comes six weeks after AT&T made a similar deal with LEO satellite operator OneWeb. Just like Verizon, AT&T said it would use that agreement LEO (OneWeb) satellites to extend its connectivity reach to hard-to-serve areas that fall outside of AT&T’s fiber footprint or are beyond the reach of AT&T’s cell towers. AT&T said it would use LEO technology to enhance connectivity when connecting to its enterprise, small and medium-sized business and government customers as well as hard-to-reach cell towers.
In January, KDDI in Japan said it would use Starlink – the LEO offering from Elon Musk’s SpaceX – to connect 1,200 of its remote cell towers with backhaul. KDDI said it would begin offering services under that new teaming as soon as next year.
However, Project Kuiper is way behind both Starlink and OneWeb in terms of satellite deployments. As noted by GeekWire, Starlink already counts 1,650 satellites in orbit (and around 100,000 users), while OneWeb’s constellation is now up to around 358 satellites. Amazon, meantime, has received FCC approvals for the operation of more than 3,000 LEO satellites but has yet to launch any of them. Amazon has committed $10 billion toward the construction of its Kuiper LEO satellite network.
To learn more about partnering with Amazon and the Project Kuiper team, email [email protected]
NOVELSAT’s High Performance Hub Will Enhance Broadband Connectivity to Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The contract was awarded by System Integrator Precision Electronics Ltd (PEL) on behalf of BSNL.
State-run telecoms provider (BSNL) selected Israeli satellite transmission company Novelsat to provide high-capacity satellite-based backhaul and broadband services to Lakshadweep, Andaman, and Nicobar Islands under a Universal Service Obligation (USO) project funded by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The contract was awarded by System Integrator Precision Electronics Ltd (PEL) on behalf of BSNL.
Under the partnership, BSNL will use Novelsat’s Xnet Data Hub system [1.] for flexibility in its growing network. BSNL will also use Novelsat’s DynamiX technology for dynamic allocation of network resources in MCPC/Point-to-Multi-Point networks on top of Novelsat’s NS4 waveform for improved network economics, the company said.
Note 1. The Xnet Data Hub is for Point-to-Multi-Point satellite network data applications requiring high performance connectivity. Addressing multiple applications including enterprise, backhaul & trunking, government & defense, aero and maritime, NOVELSAT Xnet Data Hub delivers highly integrated and optimized and efficient hub solution.
Satellite backhaul more practical than fiber backhaul for remote islands:
Satellite has always been the advantageous solution for remote and hard to reach locations. As cost of satellite capacity continues to sharply decrease, satellite connectivity cost now rivals terrestrial solutions in a growing number of use cases, making satellite connectivity a viable and economical solution for providing connectivity to more locations and more users. Offering compressive point-to-point and point-to-multi-point solutions, NOVELSAT provides high data rate broadband connectivity for demanding telecom and enterprise applications including: backhaul, trunking, backbone networks, enterprise networks, maritime and aero connectivity.
BSNL is looking to increase its network capacity to address growing demand for broadband amidst sharp rise in data consumption across users and locations. PEL along with its technology partner NOVELSAT addressed the BSNL requirement, and in turn their customer BSNL selected NOVELSAT’s Xnet Data hub system for the exceptional efficiency and flexibility it offers for growing BSNL network.
Designed to support the growing needs of hub network operators, NOVELSAT’s Xnet optimizes and maximizes both performance and usage of satellite and network resources. Utilizing NOVELSAT’s DynamiX technology for dynamic allocation of network resources in MCPC/Point-to-Multi-Point networks on top of the most bandwidth-efficient waveform, NOVELSAT NS4™, significantly improves network economics.
NOVELSAT partnered with Precision Electronics Limited, a listed company in India to offer its solution to BSNL. Precision Electronics Limited brings in network elements like networking gear, antenna & indoor/outdoor electronics, and overall systems integration beyond the core satellite hub and remote solution from NOVELSAT.
“BSNL’s network requires the highest levels of network quality and flexibility. NOVELSAT’s proven track record, combined with its leading-edge technology, allow us to rapidly expand our network and offer better services to our customers,” said Sh. Sanjay Kumar, GM (Radio) at BSNL. “NOVELSAT has been selected to meet our challenge of providing highly efficient and reliable broadband connectivity between our country’s islands and the mainland. With this solution we are supporting the goal of accelerating the economic growth and bettering the life of the islands population”.
“We are honored to play a part in the rollout of enhanced broadband connectivity to the people of Lakshadweep, Andaman, and Nicobar Islands, and we are committed to supporting BSNL during these challenging times, as it implements its network development,” said Gary Drutin, CEO of NOVELSAT. “The BSNL deployment is a great example of the benefits offered by NOVELSAT’s Xnet data hub system, delivering a high capacity, scalable solution with maximum performance and efficiency.”
Last month, U.S.-based ST Engineering iDirect inked a partnership with BSNL to provide satellite broadband to the Indian islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep.
BSNL is an Indian state-owned telecommunications company, headquartered in New Delhi, India. It was incorporated by the Department of Telecommunications (DOT), Ministry of Communications, Government of India in 2000. It provides mobile voice and internet services through its nationwide network across India. It is the largest government owned telecom company in India offering variety of services in retail and enterprise segment.
Precision Electronics Ltd. (PEL) is a listed company that is focused to provide customized mission critical solutions to its customers. Backed by a strong Design & Engineering team and a state of art manufacturing infrastructure, PEL designed products are being used by the Indian defence/paramilitary forces, TSPs, Railways, Healthcare sector to name a few. It is strongly poised to garner substantial business in the near future.
NOVELSAT is an innovator and a leading provider of next-generation content connectivity solutions over satellite. Powered by our innovative technology, our solutions are transforming network capabilities to drive new experiences and expand growth potential.
Our leadership foundations are built around our proprietary waveform and premier system architecture, combined with cutting-edge video capabilities and best-in-industry content security. Pioneering, expanding and enhancing core and end-to-end capabilities, we outperform competitive solutions and products, delivering new levels of performance, efficiency and flexibility. Our high-performance solutions are setting the industry standards in spectral efficiency, transmission performance, media processing, video delivery, and content protection, powering mission-critical and demanding applications for the broadcast, cellular, government, and mobility markets.
World’s leading service and content providers have recognized the unique value of our state-of-the-art technology, selecting our solutions for their most demanding applications, including: Video transmission for the world’s leading broadcasters and content rights holders, as well as for the world’s major sports events; Broadband connectivity for backhaul/trunking networks of leading network operators and services providers; Mission critical communications for military, defense, security and emergency organizations; and Earth observation connectivity for leading earth observation constellation.