New Mobile Satellite Industry Association to advance global connectivity for Direct-to-Device and IoT services

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New Mobile Satellite Industry Association to advance global connectivity for Direct-to-Device and IoT services
New Mobile Satellite Industry Association to advance global connectivity for Direct-to-Device and IoT services

Enables over 100 MHz of standards-based, interoperable L- and S-band spectrum for D2D across multiple MSS networks globally.

The Mobile Satellite Services Association (MSSA) has a vision of integrating terrestrial and non-terrestrial network (NTN) services to deliver scalable, sustainable, and affordable connectivity to any device, anytime, anywhere.

United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, February 9, 2024: Viasat, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), Terrestar Solutions, Ligado Networks, Omnispace, and Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PJSC (Yahsat) today announced the Mobile Satellite Services Association (MSSA). MSSA will bring significant scale and choice to promote and advance the emerging direct-to-device (D2D) ecosystem.

MSSA seeks to develop a global ecosystem utilizing over 100 MHz of L- and S-band spectrum already allocated and licensed for mobile satellite services (MSS), which is well-suited for integration into a broad range of mobile devices. The non-profit industry association intends to align with 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards to extend terrestrial mobile coverage for both mobile network operators (MNOs) and over-the-top (OTT) internet services.

MSS licensed spectrum advantages include: enabling existing space networks to immediately offer Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) services; an existing international regulatory framework; no interference with terrestrial networks; and more spectrum to advance 5G New Radio (5G-NR) services. MSS spectrum enables all MNOs to offer space/terrestrial integration in their entire service area without having to sacrifice terrestrial spectrum.

By aligning their expertise with that of other ecosystem partners, the founding members support integrating terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) to deliver scalable, sustainable, and affordable connectivity to any device, anytime, anywhere. Emerging D2D services can expand connectivity and enable competition across multiple large and diverse segments, including cellular, industrial, government, agriculture, automotive, and others. The Association will foster a D2D ecosystem of solution providers, including terrestrial mobile and satellite operators, OEMs, infrastructure vendors, chip vendors, and others.

“Integrating satellite connectivity into consumer mobile devices is a transformative opportunity for the satellite industry. As a coalition of leaders with a unified voice, MSSA will be a driving force in making this new marketplace a reality while respecting the rights of nations to meaningfully engage and retain sovereignty in a rapidly growing space economy,” said Mark Dankberg, Chairman of MSSA and Chairman and CEO of Viasat. “The Association will help create opportunities to scale NTN systems via open, standards-based solutions for D2D and IoT. We believe this can be done while preserving critical MSS aviation and maritime safety services and by expanding the markets and supporting diverse users through substantial improvements in speed, bandwidth, availability, interoperability, and affordability.”

MSSA is focused on achieving the following fundamental goals:

  • Unlocking interoperable architectures and standards for use in 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
  • Achieving scale through improved coordination and cooperation mechanisms among MSS operators to maximize the utility of over 100 MHz of already available and licensed global MSS spectrum in nations desiring advanced NTN services
  • Maximizing scarce multi-orbit space and spectrum resources and employing sustainable network design and operation to enable affordable advanced NTN services
  • Advocating for policies, laws, and regulations, including those related to rational, efficient, safe, and sustainable uses of spectrum and orbits, and, where appropriate, objective and quantitative metrics regarding all objects in orbit around Earth
  • Providing a neutral forum for coordination of 3GPP NTN and other international standards activities
  • Supporting the integration of space networks into national telecommunications infrastructure via trusted local partners and within sovereign regulatory and national security frameworks
  • Supporting mechanisms for individual nations to participate in the new space economy via open standards and architectures and via the space networks supported by MSSA

For more information on the formation and mission of MSSA, visit the association’s website: www.mss-association.org.

To connect with an MSSA spokesperson at MWC 2024 (press or prospective members), please schedule a meeting via [email protected].

MSSA Founding Member Comments:

Jacques Leduc, President and CEO of Terrestar Solutions, highlighted, “Terrestar is proud to be a founding member of the Mobile Satellite Services Association, which promises to be a game-changer for all in remote areas by making mobile satellite service fill the connectivity gaps affecting close to one third of the Canadian population and many others around the world. As we leverage our existing satellite assets and pool our efforts with world-class partners, direct-to-device services will soon ensure seamless global coverage and chart a path toward a digitally inclusive Canada, ensuring safety, innovation, and connectivity for every corner of our country. Recognizing that accessibility to everyday communication, wherever you are, is not a luxury but an essential service, we are committed to bridging the gap and making this fundamental right a reality for all Canadians and others around the world.”

“Ligado looks forward to working within the MSSA to bring our mobile satellite spectrum and network resources to bear in the North American market. D2D satellite services developed on the basis of the L- and S-band NTN ecosystem will deliver the highest performance, leveraging the superior assets and experience of MSSA member operators,” said Doug Smith, CEO of Ligado.

“In the past, Omnispace has taken a leadership role in evolving terrestrial standards to enable non-terrestrial networks. Now, with our industry partners, we will be able to accelerate the development and optimization of spectrum and technologies designed to improve the lives of everyone on Earth,” said Ram Viswanathan, President and CEO, Omnispace. “We are pleased to join as a founding member of the MSSA, which can only further our industry’s ability to offer game-changing D2D global voice, text, and data solutions to billions of users, devices, and industries worldwide.”

“We are delighted to become the one and only satellite operator from the MENA region among MSSA’s founding members of leading satellite operators globally. The establishment of this new association is in line with our efforts to advocate the integration between satellite connectivity and terrestrial networks. This integration is crucial to harnessing the power of space technology and accelerating the growth of emerging sectors, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT) and Direct-to-Device (D2D). Both sectors are key pillars of Yahsat’s growth strategy,” said Ali Al Hashemi, Group CEO of Yahsat.

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