Ubiqconn targets Southeast Asia's low-Earth orbit satellite boom

Aaron Lee, Taipei; Vyra Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Source: Ubiqconn Technology

Ubiqconn Technology is strategically positioning itself to capitalize on the burgeoning prospects of Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite development in Southeast Asia. The company underscores the region's plethora of islands, sparse rural population density, and rapid economic progress as key factors fueling the immense potential for LEO satellite ventures.

Citing the Satellite Industry Association's (SIA) 2023 State of the Satellite Industry Report, global revenues in the satellite communication sector are projected to soar to US$384 billion in 2022, with ground equipment accounting for US$15.5 billion.

Southeast Asia's satellite market is witnessing a rapid evolution. With over 40% of the populace residing in rural areas, Satellite Communication (satcom) emerges as a pivotal solution offering expansive coverage unhindered by geographical constraints, thus emerging as the prime choice for Southeast Asian nations.

Ubiqconn highlights Southeast Asia's vast archipelago, comprising nations like the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, spanning over 25,000 islands and boasting diverse terrains, including volcanoes, mountains, tropical rainforests, and vast oceanic expanses.

Moreover, the concentration of Southeast Asia's populace in urban centers and plains, juxtaposed with the sparse suburban population density, presents a scenario where only urban locales enjoy 4G coverage. This digital divide underscores the compelling need for satellite infrastructure, particularly where economic feasibility or logistical challenges impede traditional 4G deployment.

Amidst Southeast Asia's robust economic growth, accounting for 12-15% of global GDP, the region's communication and defense imperatives underscore the indispensable role of satellites. As defense requirements vary across regions, the demand for tailored satcom equipment necessitates nimble manufacturers capable of offering bespoke solutions.

While Taiwan's prowess in satellite critical components is internationally acknowledged, particularly in antenna manufacturing, the country's absence in system assembly remains conspicuous.

Furthermore, Taiwanese manufacturers' limited presence in the satellite market extends beyond Southeast Asia, with European and American ventures remaining scant. Despite aspirations from major Taiwanese players like Compal and Pegatron to penetrate the LEO satellite segment, the industry's focus predominantly gravitates towards critical components rather than comprehensive system integration.

Ubiqconn notes the historical niche status of the satellite market, primarily catering to defense interests, which rendered operators susceptible to bankruptcy sans governmental support. However, the advent of LEO satellites is disrupting traditional paradigms, compelling MEO and HEO satellite operators to forge alliances with LEO counterparts to navigate the evolving landscape.

The recent consolidation endeavors, such as the OneWeb-Eutelsat merger and ongoing negotiations between SES SA and Intelsat SA, reflect a proactive stance among MEO and HEO satellite operators, presenting novel opportunities within the satellite supply chain.