Truphone and Skylo today announce a world first at MWC Barcelona. The successful achievement links existing cellular devices with satellites, making seamless switching between satellite and cellular networks possible without special hardware. This major breakthrough in combining terrestrial and satellite connectivity moves communication technology closer to delivering on the promise of truly ubiquitous global connectivity.?
Satellite communications previously required expensive modems and specialised antennas in order to access satellite coverage; this new connectivity uses existing equipment whose capabilities are expanded with a simple firmware update. In this partnership, Skylo has successfully enabled ordinary cellular devices with Truphone SIMs to connect and transmit NB-IoT data via Skylo’s established satellite network, all without any additional hardware changes to the devices in order to create network orchestration.
Now, Skylo’s technology and core network, combined with Truphone’s MVNO capabilities, prove that completely ordinary narrow-band cellular devices can connect reliably from anywhere in the world by seamlessly switching over to a satellite network when they’re out of terrestrial coverage.
In this demonstration, Truphone subscriber devices were successfully able to connect and transmit data to and from Skylo’s satellite network (over existing geostationary satellites as far as 36,000 km in space), as if it was an ordinary terrestrial mobile network. Now, it’s been proven that ordinary narrow-band cellular devices can indeed connect reliably without the need for any hardware modifications. Skylo’s 3GPP standardised NTN base-station technology and core network, combined with Truphone’s MVNO capabilities have resulted in a new capability where end customer devices seamlessly switch over to a satellite network when they’re out of terrestrial coverage.
Truphone is providing connectivity to its customers by creatively combining satellite and cellular technologies into a single network, as another first in the industry.?
This wireless milestone opens up a world of opportunities for end users of IoT devices by making it possible for them to access truly global coverage as the new default, no matter where they may be.? Applications exist across remote sensors across a host of key verticals, including energy, asset tracking, logistics, maritime, and agriculture.
Ralph Steffens, CEO of Truphone said:
“We expect that in a short while, subscribers will come to expect that there’s no such thing as gaps in coverage. Device makers will start to integrate their app-native location tracking, emergency messaging, and remote monitoring workflows assuming an always-available network. This demonstration shows how much can be achieved fast if you have the IP under one roof rather than a long supply chain of partners.”
Parthsarathi Trivedi, Skylo’s co-founder and CEO said:
“Skylo has pioneered several firsts in blurring the line between cellular and satellite. Today’s announcement almost completely erases that line, which will generate a series of unprecedented connectivity experiences for consumers and enterprises alike”, said Trivedi. “Skylo has successfully collaborated with multiple Tier-1 cellular chipset makers and is engaged with the world’s top device makers including smartphones, wearable devices, outdoor and recreation products, asset trackers and sensors that could soon feature this seamless and ubiquitous connectivity all at single digit dollars per month.”