Calls for collaboration as ITW tackles the emerging space race

09 June 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Ahead of International Telecoms Week 2021, connectivity players have reinforced the need for global collaboration as the satellite sector continues to make rapid gains.

Following developments from the likes of Starlink, OneWeb, Softbank, OQ Technology and others, global connectivity gaps are being plugged, however speakers in the session The Emerging Space Race: How Satellite Operators and Telcos Must Work Together reinforced the need for continued collaboration between players and industry sectors, as well as governments.

Michèle Beck, VP, North American sales at Telesat, said the firm had been working with telcos, MVNOs, resellers and integrators, "and it's important to consider that when we deal with these telcos it is not just connectivity to a remote site".

She continued: "We can integrate the LEO constellation network and those links and circuits into the core telco network to help you expand the territories you serve. With over 50% of the world's population lacking broadband connectivity today, we believe there is a tremendous opportunity for governments worldwide to work with local and regional carriers to bridge the digital divide everywhere."

Beck was joined in the session by moderator Matteo Ainardi, partner at Arthur D. Little. The panel also featured Stewart Sanders, EVP technology at SES Networks; Per Borgklint, CCO OneWeb; and Sanjay Nayak (pictured), executive, global connectivity and platforms for Telstra.

Commenting on how telcos can find new partners, Nayak said: "I am super excited about this. it is an emerging space race."

Commenting on the "massive opportunity" to help enterprise and mid-market customers he continued: "From a Telstra perspective we obviously leverage the ownership of our submarine cable system, our Telstra networks, our teleports and our partner services to really bridge that gap that customers face. In my view it's a really important ecosystem that really needs to continue to come together."

Highlighting in the complexity customers face in the current environment, Nayak added: "From a collaboration perspective and a rural perspective, I see the role for telco is really to help manage this complexity by incorporating satellite and the latest software environments, software defined networking environments, to enable secure application environments for our customers."

Sanders said the initial focus should be on the mechanics of how satellite will work for telco operators: "Any telco operator looking at the market recently must be like kids at Christmas. People are bringing all these solutions and pushing them, but we need to get to the heart of what is being offered and how it will work.

"What we are bringing to the market is an overall infrastructure that leverages existing terrestrial standards and capabilities. So, even though Sanjay may get excited about working with satellite, his customers don't know he's using satellite.

"We are filling a gap and doing something he can't get elsewhere but it doesn't need to be, it should look like everything else he has got. That's the goal."

 

The latest ITW agenda for 2021 is live online, with many sessions already open for registration.