Executive Summary of Euroconsult’s 2022 Conference held in Paris September 12th-14th, 2022
This year’s World Satellite Business Week Summit was the first “normal” satellite industry event since the COVID-19 outbreak. Pent-up demand for in-person events was evident by the full capacity attendance that required Euroconsult, for the first time, to close registration and turn away attendees. The increased rate of change in the industry over the past five years was also evident.
- Increasing integration between the satellite industry and terrestrial players was a dominant theme. Non-traditional participants, including Microsoft, were event sponsors.
- Most operators address the potential of connectivity to consumer handsets – something unthinkable 10 years ago. While there have only been two announcements about consumer connectivity (Starlink/T-Mobile and Globalstar/Apple), it’s clear many others are working on it, including Iridium (with an unnamed partner).
- Integration with terrestrial 5G networks was a major theme as was the topic of standardization – something most participants believed would be needed to reduce equipment prices to levels needed to participate in 5G growth. Standardization, particularly on ground hardware, and digitalization, were frequently cited as key elements to reducing cost.
- Cybersecurity increased in prominence, partly due to events related to Ukraine but also as a result of a long-term trend toward greater security concerns.
- The gap between SpaceX and traditional launch providers is reaching massive new levels. None of the traditional launch providers seem to have a reusable vehicle close to being ready or have the capacity for more than about 10 launches a year vs. Starlink’s planned 100 annual launches and Astra’s ambitious goal of one launch per day.
- Focus on a “European Solution” for LEO came up as well as a tacit acknowledgment that the EU has fallen behind in certain areas in the space sector and risks falling behind in others.
- Supply chain issues continued to be mentioned but with less of a crisis tone than in the past.
- Executives commonly mentioned concerns about clouds over the economy and a potential recession.
- Finance professionals frequently noted that companies that were financed during the SPAC bubble are now facing the challenge to perform.