President’s Message: Given the larger industry convergence of IT and Telecom and the fact that the next generation of satellite innovations aim to cultivate new user groups from enterprise and consumer markets, it makes sense to talk about satellite in conjunction with other wireless technologies versus a stand-alone option. It seems Jason Rainbow, Group Editor-in-Chief of Connectivity Business -- formerly SatelliteFinance -- sees it this way too.I invite you to read the below interview to learn more and to see what this respected publication has done to align with this new marketplace reality.
- Catherine Melquist, President, Mobile Satellite Users Association
Catherine: So you have big news -- SatelliteFinance is now Connectivity Business. What is this change all about? Will the publication’s content mission be changing too?
Jason: For more than 25 years, about the time the MSUA has been in existence, our offering included two very distinct financial information services: Commercial space-focused SatelliteFinance and terrestrial connectivity-focused Connectivity Business.
It’s been fascinating watching their universes come together over the years. Data is now at the heart of the satellite growth story. On the terrestrial side, satellite is increasingly part of the conversation as the world marches towards truly ubiquitous connectivity.
We had already been adding more coverage of the terrestrial connectivity market to SatelliteFinance in line with this trend to offer an expanded view of these shifting dynamics. Bringing SatelliteFinance closer to Connectivity Business was the natural next step. While the extensive satellite market coverage we have been providing for decades is not changing, this new look reflects just how core connectivity has become to its future success.
Catherine: Through Mobility News, interviews and our annual conference keynote speakers, MSUA has spent the last couple of years focusing on topics related to “satellite in the 5G era of mobility”. How relevant is this focus from your perspective?
Jason: Incredibly relevant. It’s very much all to play for right now amid significant potential for unprecedented market expansion as satellite carves out its place in the next-generation connectivity ecosystem, fueled by demand elasticity in consumer broadband and other notoriously price-sensitive verticals.
But it’s an opportunity that is fraught with obstacles to overcome. Communication and cooperation will be critical for clearing these hurdles, and it’s great to see the important work MSUA has been doing to bring the sector together and shine a light on the challenges that lie ahead.
Catherine: What do you see as the opportunities and challenges for satellite as wireless connectivity evolves to include 5G?
Jason: Data is the next big growth engine for satellite, which has a huge role to play if the world is to truly realize ubiquitous and resilient connectivity. Although the satellite and terrestrial paths are converging, they have been evolving in parallel to each other for quite some time.
I think a key challenge for satellite will be how to effectively navigate those deeply engrained differences, and to figure out how to simplify networks so that everyone speaks the same language.
One potential route that has its advocates in the industry involves stepping up efforts to standardize networks and processes to improve interoperability – within the sector as well as with the terrestrial ecosystem it is blending into. The wireless industry has shown how effective this approach can be.
Catherine: Why do you think satellite players should be interested in the larger telecom field of mobility?
Jason: It’s a chance for satellite to be woven into the fabric of the digital revolution One of the biggest challenges for the industry historically has been its perception as a niche offering that only belongs at the fringe of the ecosystem. Satellite-related technology and access to space have improved drastically, to a point where that attitude is starting to change.
If successful, the incoming wave of LEO broadband constellations and incredibly high-throughput satellites will further transform how the sector is viewed by consumers, enterprises and governments/regulators, opening up new markets, partnerships and possibilities.
Catherine: What connectivity trends do you see driving future business for satellite players?
Jason: The insatiable and global need for people and devices to be connected everywhere and at every moment underpins them all, because it plays on satellite’s unique strengths. I think among the most exciting are the opportunities around IoT and the connected vehicle. Data being increasingly pushed to the edge offers another avenue for growth. It has been particularly interesting seeing the data giants of this world forge closer ties with satellite, greatly expanding the potential market.
As new in-orbit capabilities are being launched as we speak, pioneering new business models, satellite could very well be a part of that killer 5G app we’re all waiting for.
Catherine: What else can you tell me about Connectivity Business that would be helpful for MSUA members to know?
Jason: We bring a unique perspective to the critical strategic and financial issues affecting the mobility sector because of our deep expertise across the entire connectivity ecosystem, from orbital to terrestrial infrastructure. We feel this has never been more important in an increasingly connected and interconnected world.
Catherine: How can MSUA members reach you with story ideas?
Jason: They can reach me and all our journalists at email@example.com. We always welcome ideas, tips and other insights that could inform our forward-looking analysis.
Catherine: Jason, it would be interested to know more about you personally. What’s your background and how did you get involved in reporting on the satellite industry?
Jason: I started when I joined SatelliteFinance as a senior reporter a decade ago, when it was based in London and a part of the UK’s Press Association news agency. Before that I covered financial news more generally, focusing on macroeconomic trends and small cap companies based in the UK.
It was an interesting time to start covering the satellite industry, just as SpaceX was revolutionizing the launch business. The mobility revolution promises to be even more transformative.
Catherine: Last question I ask all interviewees – When not reporting, what’s your favorite form of recreational mobility (skiing, biking, horseback riding……)?
Jason: Does abseiling down rockfaces count? Living in California these past few years I’ve been spoilt by the plethora of places to climb, although I can’t attest to being very mobile while doing it just yet.
Catherine: I’m not sure whether you’re climbing or repelling but both count, especially given your proximity to Yosemite National Park -- the international mecca for modern rock climbing! Best of luck to you with this and Connectivity Business. On behalf of MSUA, many thanks for your time and we look forward to collaborating with you to achieve new heights in coverage for mobility news and information.
About Jason Rainbow:
Jason Rainbow is Group Editor-in-Chief of Finance Information Group, which provides perspective and information on M&A, financing, and corporate strategy through educational conferences and unique financial publications including Connectivity Business (formerly SatelliteFinance and TelecomFinance) and Transaction Advisors.
Previously, Jason was Editor for SatelliteFinance, and has covered the UK, Ireland and Nordic regions for TelecomFinance. Before that he wrote financial news digests for Reuters, covering small-cap UK companies as well as wider macroeconomic issues.
Jason earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and print media from the University of East London.
About Connectivity Business:
Connectivity Business provides sophisticated investors, senior corporate executives, and strategic advisors with theme-based, forward-looking intelligence reports on the critical strategic and financial issues impacting the global terrestrial and orbital connectivity infrastructure and services industry.
Our coverage includes connectivity providers across a number of communications infrastructure segments, including fibre networks, macro cell towers, small cell networks, data centres, GEO / MEO satellite bandwidth, evolving LEO constellations, smallsat and launch innovation, IoT applications and other innovative communications infrastructure.
Formed more than 25 years ago in London under the TelecomFinance and SatelliteFinance brands, the Connectivity Business team continues to deliver leading financial information services to the global media and communications industries.