Sateliot plans first active NB-IoT nanosatellite launch
Nascent satellite-based 5G narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) wholesaler Sateliot continues to put together the pieces of its network, announcing this week that its first functional low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite is expected to hitch a ride on a SpaceX launch in the first quarter of 2023.
The company had previously announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build a fully virtualized cloud-native 5G core for its NB-IoT service, expected to be commercially available sometime in the second half of 2023. Sateliot’s plan is to provide seamless coverage for mobile operators via roaming agreements, rather than to sell the service itself. The technology will work with unmodified commercial IoT devices that are compliant with the 3GPP Rel-17 standard.
“Current Satcom technologies are amazing but too niche and expensive for the average user. We have now launched two satellites, marking the official start of our working constellation, and will launch four more by the end of 2023. Our nanosatellite network will benefit everyone across every sector by granting access to coverage that’s just as robust on a yacht as it is in the most rural areas where traditional networks can’t reach,” said Jaume Sanpera, Sateliot’s founder and CEO, in a statement.
The company touts its offering as “total connectivity … [which] means that any $1 standard device anywhere in the world can communicate without limits.” It says that it has engagements and/or technical integrations ongoing with multiple operators around the world, including Telefonica/Vivo/O2, and unnamed operators in the U.S., Australia and a number of countries in Europe, the Middle East and southern Africa. Gianluca Redolphi, chief business officer at Sateliot, said over the summer that Sateliot has already signed up more than 500 companies as part of its early adopters program, working towards a goal of 1,000. Among them are more than 40 IoT operators. The company expects ultimately to invest more than €300 million (US$287.5 million) in service of this market, he said.
Sateliot launched its first test satellite, called 3B5GSAT, in March 2021. The microwave oven-sized satellite was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan; Sateliot partnered with Spanish company Open Cosmos on the launch.