OQ Technology Reaches For Satellite-To-Phone Connectivity

The team behind OQ Technology has just signed a new contract with the ESA (© OQ Technology)

Satellite operator OQ Technology signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA), looking to upgrade its services in the realm of satellite-to-phone connectivity. This could allow it to solidify its role as a front-runner in a market estimated at about $1tn.

The Leudelange-based company has already kicked off the endeavour, part of the agreement with the space agency. It involves a feasibility study that will look into upgrading OQ Technology‘s current satellite 5G NB-IoT RAN NTN technology and payload. It was designed under MACSAT, a project funded by the Luxembourg government through an ESA contract.

Big-money Market

OQ’s current technology allows its satellites to connect directly to IoT devices and machines from Low Earth Orbit anywhere in the world. The next step is linking it with phones. Manufacturers like Apple are already rolling out devices that support this feature.

At the same time, the direct-to-cell connectivity market has been heating up, with the likes of SpaceX, Lynk, AST Mobile, and recently Iridium competing to offer this new service. This explains the high-value projections of this sector of the economy.

“The direct-to-cellular market is estimated to be about $1tn and is growing rapidly, we believe this is the new killer app in the world of satellite communication,” said

Omar Qaise founder and CEO of OQ Technology

LSA and ESA on board

The study will also look into requirements for the system able to support this service, platform upgrades, mission analysis, antenna technology and identifying suppliers. OQ Technology highlights that establishing new standard direct-to-device frequency bands compatibility with existing devices and modules is an important aspect of the research.

“As OQ Technology has been a pioneer in narrowband 5G IoT satellite connectivity when we looked into it back in 2016 and successfully demonstrated the technology in orbit, we are eyeing now the future of direct cellular connectivity to mobile phones. We are grateful to the Luxembourg Space Agency and the European Space Agency for their vision and great continuous support to OQ,” said Omar Qaise founder and CEO of OQ Technology.

The satellite provider is tightly linked with the grand duchy, having developed its wireless technology in collaboration with the government and the ESA. Likewise, Luxembourg has ambitions to position itself strongly in the space economy. The Belval-based European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) recently announced it will create a space resources accelerator, providing support to companies and supporting the space business ecosystem.

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