PARIS — Blaine Curcio, Euroconsult senior affiliate consultant, sounded skeptical when he asked panelists at the World Satellite Business Week conference whether flat-panel antennas were “actually the holy grail” in terms of significantly expanding the total addressable market.
The response from satellite communications service providers, however, was a resounding yes, assuming the price is right.
For consumer adoption of broadband from satellites in low or medium Earth orbits, inexpensive flat-panel antennas are “critical,” said Pradman Kaul, Hughes Network Systems president and CEO. “That is the biggest application today that we can’t address because we don’t have a low-cost, electronic-array-based flat-antennas.”
Flat-panel antennas also will be “a game changer” for expanding the role satellites play in connecting devices in the internet-of-things, said iDirect CEO Kevin Steen. “It changes the economics when you look at the installation.”
In the maritime market, the picture is more mixed.
Cruise ships will continue to rely on large antennas, said SpeedCast CEO Pierre-Jean Beylier. “They need hundred of megabits and highly efficient antennas. We are not going to get there with flat-panel antennas.”
The same is true for energy customers who rely on satellites links to connect offshore platforms. They will continue to install large antennas, ...