In a groundbreaking move, Viasat, Inc., alongside Terrestar Solutions, Ligado Networks, Omnispace, and Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), have come together to announce the formation of the Mobile Satellite Services Association (MSSA). This new consortium is set to enhance and promote the burgeoning Direct-to-Device (D2D) communication landscape, promising to deliver unprecedented scale and diversity in mobile satellite services.
The MSSA aims to harness more than 100 MHz of L- and S-band spectrum, which is already allocated and licensed specifically for mobile satellite services. This spectrum is considered ideal for seamless integration across a wide variety of mobile devices. The association, a non-profit entity, plans to adhere to the standards set by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to broaden terrestrial mobile coverage. This includes services provided by both Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Over-the-Top (OTT) internet services, ensuring expansive connectivity without compromising terrestrial network bandwidth.
The licensed spectrum under MSSA brings several benefits. It enables the immediate offering of Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) services via existing space networks, operates within an established international regulatory framework, ensures no interference with terrestrial networks, and provides ample spectrum to foster the advancement of 5G New Radio (5G-NR) services. This initiative allows MNOs to seamlessly offer integrated space and terrestrial connectivity across their service areas.
The founding members of MSSA believe in the synergy of combining terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks to offer scalable, sustainable, and affordable connectivity solutions. This will not only enhance connectivity for consumer mobile devices but also promote competition across various sectors such as cellular, industrial, government, agriculture, and automotive, among others.
Mark Dankberg, Chairman of MSSA and CEO of Viasat, emphasized the transformative potential of integrating satellite connectivity into consumer mobile devices. He highlighted the association’s commitment to fostering a dynamic D2D ecosystem, promoting open, standards-based solutions for D2D and IoT connectivity while ensuring the preservation of essential MSS aviation and maritime safety services.
MSSA is dedicated to unlocking new interoperable architectures, enhancing global roaming between terrestrial and satellite networks, and advocating for sustainable and efficient use of space and spectrum resources. Through collaboration and advocacy, the association aims to support the integration of space networks into national telecommunications infrastructure, respecting sovereign rights and fostering participation in the new space economy.