Home > Research > New LEO Projects

New LEO Projects

Market report - 16/12/2016 New LEO Projects

Game changers and opportunities

After a first wave of interest in the mid-1990s followed by several failures at the beginning of the 2000s, LEO constellations are again under the spotlight, with players such as SpaceX and OneWeb showing great ambition. These LEO constellations must bring reduced latency and increased capacity but how does it match with the market demand of today and tomorrow. How disruptive are LEO constellations and what place could they find in the telecom market...

What makes LEO different from MEO and GEO satellites?
Why would LEO constellations be more successful today than yesterday? What has changed?
Which markets do LEO constellations target?
What place will LEO have in the era of 5G?
What challenges lie in building such constellations?
Who will succeed? Who will have more difficulty?

Reference Language Support Nbr of page Price  
M16318MR ukPDF 53 2000 euros excl. VAT order
1. Executive Summary

2. Methodology & definitions

3. Earth orbits and their characteristics

4. Technical considerations
 4.1. Large coverage for increased capacity and reduced latency
 4.2. Frequency bands considerations

 4.2.1. Frequency bands used by satellite players
 4.2.2. LEO satellite constellations and frequency bands
 4.2.3. Interference and frequency availability
 4.2.4. Future of frequency bands for LEO constellations
 4.3. LEO project architectures

5. A renewed interest in LEO
 5.1. Review of LEO projects
 5.1.1. Historical projects
 5.1.2. New projects
 5.1.3. Competing projects
 5.2. Market for LEO services
 5.2.1. Markets of today
 5.2.2. Markets of tomorrow: Which role for LEO and satellite in a 5G context?
 5.3. Commercial services launch timeline
 5.3.1. Legacy LEOs first: focus on narrowband/limited broadband
 5.3.2. Earth Observation services: next to come
 5.3.3. Broadband-focused services: a more distant (and uncertain) future

6. Market and strategies
 6.1. Player strategies
 6.1.1. Legacy satellite players
 6.1.2. Newcomers
 6.2. Drivers and challenges
 6.2.1. Drivers for LEO developments
 6.2.2. Challenges
 6.3. Value chain evolution
 6.3.1. Which changes and impacts?
 6.3.2. Success or failure?
Table 1: Presentation of various orbits
Table 2: Satellite orbits, coverage and period
Table 3: Frequency bands and main areas of use
Table 4: Main LEO constellation projects, launched or failed
Table 5: Iridium subscribers and ARPU as of June 2016
Table 6: ORBCOMM financial information
Table 7: Globalstar financial and operational data
Table 8: Main LEO constellations being launched
Table 9: Main future LEO constellations
Table 10: Markets served by LEO projects
Table 11: Benefits and drawbacks of LEO systems as compared to

Figure 1: Orbital speed and elevation
Figure 2: SES remarks on the limited experience regarding controlled sharing
Figure 3: Traditional bent-pipe satellite architecture
Figure 4: Compared advantage for signal propagation for satellite and fiber
Figure 5: Samsung mesh-satellite architecture
Figure 6: SkyBridge planned architecture
Figure 7: Iridium KPIs (2011-2015)
Figure 8: ORBCOMM subscriber growth (2005-2015)
Figure 9: Range of devices provided by Globalstar
Figure 10: Polar orbit
Figure 11: Multiple form factors for OneWeb end-user terminal
Figure 12: OneWeb satellite coverage
Figure 13: OneWeb technology to limit interference with nearby satellites
Figure 14: Successful landing of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship
Figure 15: Coverage of the US by constellation of LEO satellites proposed by Boeing
Figure 16: SpaceBelt use cases
Figure 17: Evolution between SkySat 1-2 and 3
Figure 18: PlanetLab satellite launching
Figure 19: PlanetLab constellation project
Figure 20: Google Loon antennas on the ground used for New Zealand test ( in the ISM band)
Figure 21: 40th parallel South
Figure 22: Rendering of O3b satellite coverage areas and visibility around the Equator
Figure 23: Comparison of O3B performances
Figure 24: Multi-Radio Access Technology Control / User plane splitting
Figure 25: Percentage of resource elements used for U-plane signalling
Figure 26: LEO satellite constellation commercial timeline
Figure 27: Evolving capacity of some Ka-band satellites recently launched
Figure 28: Should GEO operators support LEO constellations?
Figure 29: GEO networks are capable to handle increased data demand?
Figure 30: Very small launch vehicles with announced investment
Figure 31: What is the biggest threat to existing networks?
Figure 32: Number of pieces of debris, by altitude
Figure 33: Combined 2015 GSO and NGSO historical launches and launch forecasts
Figure 34: Traditional satellite value chain
Figure 35: Evolution of the revenues of the satellite industry (in billion USD)
Skybox imaging
Distinctions between GEO, MEO and LEO
Large coverage for increased capacity and reduced latency
Frequency bands, a strategic asset
Architectures for LEO constellations
A new context for LEO satellite constellation
LEO projects from the 1990s
New LEO projects (to be launched)
LEO satellite constellation commercial timeline
Markets for LEO services: a whole range of markets targeted: from B2B to B2C
Challenges for the success of LEO constellation projects
See previous publications related to Wireless

See full list of publications related to Future Networks




Commercial Contact
P: +33 (0)467 144 404
F: +33 (0)467 144 400


Register to our newsletter