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MediaTek, Inmarsat Demonstrate 5G Satellite IoT Data Connection

By Rachel Jewett | August 19, 2020

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MediaTek reports it has conducted a successful trial of a 5G satellite Internet of Things (IoT) data connection. In a Wednesday release, MediaTek said it established a bi-directional link and transferred data from its satellite-enabled standard NB-IoT device to Inmarsat‘s Alphasat L-band satellite in Geostationary Orbit (GEO).

The companies say this test was the first of its kind and could prove the feasibility of new global standards and market potential of a single device for connecting satellite and cellular networks.

MediaTek, a fabless semiconductor company, and Inmarsat ran the test with a base station located at the Fucino Space Center in Italy and developed by Taiwan’s Institute for Information Industry. The test device was located in Northern Italy. 

“Testing MediaTek’s standard NB-IoT chip over Inmarsat’s established GEO satellite network has proven technology from mobile networks works effectively over GEO satellites with little modification and will provide a very cost effective path to ubiquitous and hybrid global IoT coverage,” commented Jonathan Beavon, senior director of Inmarsat Product Group.

The test results will be contributed to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)’s Rel-17 standardization work on Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) to establish 5G standards toward new use cases and services.