VSAT Statistics

For your interest, here are a few statistics and figures about the VSAT market. You have our permission to quote these figures providing that you label any information you use as  © and reference is made at each use to this www site (www.comsys.co.uk). These statistics include sales up to the end of 2016 although service sites are based on a 12 month research timeframe:

Enterprise & Broadband Star Data Systems
Total Number of Enterprise VSAT Terminals Shipped 4,597,805
Total Number of Sites in Service 1,565,662
Enterprise Sites in Service 3 Year CAGR 1.3%
Number of Contracts Listed in the COMSYS Database 33,694
Number of Active VSAT Operators Tracked by COMSYS 537

Consumer Internet Access Star Data Systems  
Total Consumer Sites in Service 2,203,346
Total Consumer VSATs Shipped 6,986,801
Consumer Subscribers in Service 3 Year CAGR 5.7%

DAMA Systems
Total Number of Mesh/DAMA Terminals Shipped 198,210
Total Number of Thick & Thin Route Mesh/DAMA Sites in Service 39,899
Sites in Service 3 Year CAGR 1.6%
Number of Contracts Listed in the COMSYS Database 6,003

SCPC Systems  
Number of Sites in Service 29,841
Links in Service 3 Year CAGR -4.4%

VSAT Revenues  
All Service Revenues $8.16 billion
TDMA & DAMA Hardware Revenues $0.96 billion

There are now fewer different star and mesh TDMA and DAMA systems from many vendors - The 14th Edition of The VSAT Report lists 23 different products - but currently the star data market is primarily contested by Hughes Network Systems (with its HX and HT/Jupiter systems), Gilat Satellite Networks (with its SkyEdge II-c and SkyEdge II products), ViaSat (with the SurfBeam 2, ArcLight and SLQ systems), iDirect (with the Evolution and Velocity platforms), Newtec (with Dialog) and several standards-based DVB-RCS system vendors which include Advantech, Satlink (previously STM), ASAT (previously NanoTronix) and Thales Alenia Space.  Others include Advantech's InterSKY (which was Shiron), UHP Networks (which changed name from Romantis) and TSAT.  In the DAMA market the main players are Comtech, ND Satcom, Polarsat and ViaSat with LinkWay.  The figure opposite shows the vendor market share measured by the number of terminals shipped in 2016:

The regional market for VSAT systems has historically been dominated by North America, especially in terms of volumes and it still is when taking into account consumer services.  However, in the enterprise segment the other regions have been catching up since 1988 and have, until relatively recently, been higher margin markets.  Africa and the Middle East grew very strongly through 2009, but fell back as demand in both regions evolved to reflect the advent of international fibre in Africa and the changing military situation in the ME.  As government sponsored broadband projects have grown in importance, so the developing regions of the world have begun to see greater volume sales than the gradually declining North American market.

Star System Regional Shares


The launch of new Ka-band satellite systems from Yahsat, Avanti and Eutelsat initially helped, but most of these service businesses, which began by targeting the consumer segment, have not performed very well over the past three to five years.  Western Europe retains its position as the world's hub, but both enterprise and consumer sales within the region have been sluggish for many years.  Further east, Russia continues to drive demand, but the market there has been pretty flat recently while other countries have declined in activity.  Brazil and Mexico are the engines of growth for Latin America, but all of the major nations continue to show pretty robust demand for VSAT services particularly from the government, carrier and financial segments.  With Hughes' successful launch of its consumer service in Brazil in mid-2016 and growing HTS capacity deployments, there are now good prospects based on solid performance for consumer services in some of the developing markets.

India is a law unto itself, both in terms of its unrelenting and imaginative use of the technology as well as the determination of the major operators to open up new opportunities despite the bureaucratic restrictions that the government departments that regulate the space industry place in front of them.  Elsewhere Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Australia are the hot spots in Asia with some hoped for prospects in China.

Demand for broadband access services from small businesses was strong for several years, but as Ka-band spot-beam satellites have emerged with the promise of massively increased bandwidth and lower costs, the market has begun to transition as operators and customers prepare for new services. 

To date over 4.5 million star TDMA sites have been sold to core enterprise customers, such as Yum!, Mobil/Exxon, the US Postal Service, BP, Rite Aid, Walgreens, GTECH, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Best Western and Safeway (see the user examples for more information).  2001 saw the initial growth of consumer internet access services, which are most successful in the US, although service initiatives are growing in Lain America, Europe and Africa.  Managed broadband access services targeted at the SME segment have seen a gradual decline as the commercial launch of these consumer services has gathered pace.

Mobility has been the prime area of growth - maritime, military, emergency services, O&G and aeronautical.  These segments are relatively small in volumes, but high in relative revenues.   

VSAT Market Sales

In the fixed market the biggest segment of growth is seen in the cellular backhaul market - ironic because cellular data services have emerged as the largest competitor to VSAT over the past three to five years.  As a consequence of this, rapidly expanding fibre coverage and many new technical and product innovations in the VSAT/satellite industry, the market has entered a much more volatile state - something that was a feature of the industry a few years ago.

Increased demand for bandwidth alongside the need to ensure business continuity has meant that hybrid mixed VSAT/terrestrial networks are now far more common.  However, this has also led to fast growth of consumer services which tails off quickly as bandwidth is saturated.  HughesNet and Exede have shown that substantial and sustainable growth in consumer markets is possible following the extremely successful introduction of their new generation of Ka-band satellites.  The rapid saturation of available capacity as demand accelerates is well documented in the number of consumer terminals shipped year to year since 2004. 

Overall, the total number of satellite sites in service continued to grow up to 2015 with the drop off in 2016 a result of the US consumer capacity saturation.  Taking consumer out, the performance of the enterprise side of the market has been disappointing showing very little growth in the number of sites and a decline in revenues as service is shifted from primary to backup.

The site count increased - almost 4 per cent between 2014 and 2016 - whilst the volumes of data consumed has shot up.  Operators face constant price pressure and falling satellite capacity pricing has actually made this worse rather than easier.  With the move to universal, often controlled, gateway infrastructure for spot-beam systems and increasing competition from space segment suppliers VSAT operators face considerable challenges even as the satellite operators themselves struggle to come to terms with a rapidly changing market environment.  VSAT service providers have invested heavily in new platforms introducing increased efficiency wherever possible and the past three years saw the system vendors catch up with a vastly more powerful generation of products.

Growth segments in the core enterprise markets include networks for lotteries, banking ATMs, government projects and utilities as well as hybrid business continuity, carrier extension and cellular backhaul in the enterprise segment.   Corporate services are also seeing demand for new sites and higher data rates in the specialised vertical segments including oil & gas, disaster and emergency, mining, military,  aeronautical and maritime.