New research project to develop 5G compliant satellite connectivity services for MNOs & Towercos
London, 6th December 2021 – Avanti Communications (“Avanti”), the leading provider of high throughput satellite capacity across EMEA, today announces the launch of INSTANT5G, a new research project endorsed by the European Space Agency, UK Space Agency and the Romanian Space Agency.
The 5G via INtegrated Satellite and TerrestriAl CommuNicaTion (INSTANT5G) project aims to extend 5G coverage for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Tower Companies (Towercos) via integrated satellite and terrestrial communication.This will allow the addition of managed 5G services on top of existing cellular services.
As demand for greater reliability and data speed rises, the satcom industry is investing heavily in R&D to ensure the seamless integration of 5G platforms with network virtualisation. INSTANT5G will define and develop a software-based platform that will enable the convergence of satcom and mobile networks to aid 5G satellite connectivity services.
INSTANT5G will create, trial, and validate novel technologies, to deliver a software platform that virtualises resource and enables zero-touch service management of 5G satellite connections. This hybrid satellite-terrestrial network will help address the operational challenges that MNOs and Towercos face, and reduce the digital divide in regions like Africa, where inequalities are particularly prominent. By removing integration complexities and high TCOs, the platform will enable satcom-5G convergence and seamless E2E network management across both terrestrial and satellite links.
Avanti and the ESA are leading the INSTANT5G project, with support from academics and experts from the University of Surrey, CGI and LASTING software. Trials across Africa and Europe are planned to take place from 2023.
Kyle Whitehill, Chief Executive Officer at Avanti, commented; “We are delighted to be able to take a leading role in shaping the services of 5G over satellite on this ground-breaking research programme, and proud to be working alongside renowned global partners and academic experts. At Avanti, we believe everyone has the power to ‘Be More’ and by helping to break down the barriers preventing MNOs and Towercos from accessing 5G coverage, we will unlock opportunities that will enable these businesses to thrive – it is a really exciting time for the satcom industry!”
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said; “Satellites play a crucial role in enabling seamless and ubiquitous connectivity to reduce the digital divide, support the digital transformation and enable new carbon-neutral applications and services. We are proud to explore novel technologies for the design and development of integrated space and terrestrial networks.”
Professor Barry Evans, University of Surrey, said; “The Institute for Communication Systems and 5 & 6G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey is delighted to be collaborating with Avanti, Lasting and CGI on the integration of satellite and 5G mobile systems. The INSTANT5G project enables us to advance the state-of-the-art of 5G satellite backhaul that was set by the EU SaT5G project in which the University of Surrey had the Technical Management role. The advancement will be towards commercial and dynamic end-to-end managed 5G services that include satellite links in the path, through innovation and demonstration. Our 3GPP compliant 5G Core Network, Management and Orchestration infrastructure and campus-wide Radio Access Network will be utilised in the project to test the end-to-end system including satellite backhauling via Avanti, and links to the ESA ECSAT hub.”
Shaun Stretton, Senior Vice President of Satellite Communications and Space Data Platforms at CGI in the UK and Australia said; “This is another exciting project that will take us a step further towards ubiquitous 5G coverage built on a hybrid terrestrial and satcoms network. CGI is uniquely positioned to unlock these benefits through our experience and IT capabilities across the space and telecoms and our investment in unlocking the potential of 5G including our 5G accelerator lab.”
Daniel Zirmer, Chief Executive Office at LASTING Software, added; “As a provider of integrated cellular backhaul solutions, LASTING Software is very happy to be part of this consortium, working alongside leading industry players and using our significant expertise in 5G and multi-orbit satcom solutions to help drive innovation. Given LASTING Software’s solid collaboration with ESA, we are thrilled to join INSTANT5G as the first project in which have the opportunity to carry out demonstrations in a commercial context of the significant optimisations we have achieved in satcom technology solutions as part of previous and ongoing ESA-supported initiatives.”
Satellite technology is making headlines as a solution for expanding the reach of broadband to not-spots that have so far been unreached by terrestrial operators. Avanti previously led the European Commision H2020 SaT5G project, working with fifteen organisations to develop prototype solutions to integrate satellite into 5G networks. The business also has a proven track record of helping MNOs and Towercos to expand their networks in rural and ultra-rural areas in Africa.
The launch of INSTANT5G follows the recent introduction of Avanti EXTEND, a new managed satellite service to rural connectivity. The new service is set to provide reliable cellular service to millions of people living in remote and hard-to-reach areas across sub-Saharan Africa by providing high-performance and cost-effective 2G, 3G and 4G solutions to MNOs.
INSTANT5G will define and develop a software-based platform that will virtualise resources enabling the convergence of satcom and mobile networks in order to offer 5G over satellite connectivity as a service.
The integrated satellite-terrestrial platform is intended to be capable of facilitating end-to-end dynamic management and orchestration of services and QoS to support vertical agnostic and rapidly deployable 5G services, such as enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and Massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC) services across varied use cases.
About Avanti Communications
Avanti Communications is the leading Ka-band high throughput satellite capacity partner to the communications industry in EMEA – extending and guaranteeing coverage for defence missions, enterprise solutions and critical public services.
Through the HYLAS satellite fleet and partners in 118 countries, Avanti provides dedicated fixed and flexible-beam satellite connectivity, with extensive coverage across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Group has invested $1.2bn in a network that incorporates orbital slots in Ka-band spectrum, satellites, ground stations, data centres and a fibre ring. www.avantiplc.com
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia, Latvia and Lithuania are Associate Members.
ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions.
Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int
About the University of Surrey
The University of Surrey has an International reputation for research and innovation in Satellite and Mobile communications. Its Institute for Communication Systems research also houses the 5G and 6G Innovation Centres (5GIC- 6GIC) which are partnerships between industry and academia to promote and exploit 5G and 6G research. The partnership involves 26 major mobile players including the leading operators and equipment manufacturers and over 250 SME’s. 5GIC have established one of the World’s first 3GPP compliant 5G test networks developing the core network themselves and implementing over 70 small cell sites around the campus and surrounds. Within the SaT5G project they have extended this to satellite and demonstrated the first 5G GEO satellite link in 2018. Recently they have also established the World’s first LEO 5G satellite link in partnership with Telesat and Vodafone. 5GIC are partnering with UK Government in flowing out 5G trials in three regions of the UK.
Founded in 1976, CGI is among the largest independent IT and business consulting services firms in the world. With 80,000 consultants and other professionals across the globe, CGI delivers an end-to-end portfolio of capabilities, from strategic IT and business consulting to systems integration, managed IT and business process services and intellectual property solutions. CGI works with clients through a local relationship model complemented by a global delivery network that helps clients digitally transform their organizations and accelerate results. CGI Fiscal 2021 reported revenue is $12.13 billion and CGI shares are listed on the TSX (GIB.A) and the NYSE (GIB). Learn more at cgi.com
About Lasting Software
LASTING Software bridges the world of terrestrial and satellite telecommunications by offering consultancy and prototyping expertise, acting as a provider of integrated cellular backhaul solutions. We cover everything from prototyping to solution design & validation, building a functional E2E architecture in the context of 5G and multi-orbit satcom solutions. LASTING Soware provides private MNOs with custom 5G and satellite network architectures for their own specific needs. In addition to consultancy & prototyping, we also offer the possibility to validate & demonstrate the performance of these solutions prior to implementation.
Our mission is to establish a satcom competence center in Timisoara (Romania) which has the ability to support & drive long-term evolution from an academic, an economic and a commercial perspective. In developing this integrated ecosystem, we work both alongside our long-term strategic partners, as well as together with other major players, such as higher education institutions and large providers of terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure.