Australia - Mobile Satellite Services


Mobile satellite services in Australia are crucial to ensure universal access to basic telephony products in very remote areas. Australia’s experience of satellites dates to the 1950s and 1960s. Aussat was established by the government in 1981 and in 1992 was sold to Optus, having suffered huge financial losses.

Optus and Telstra remain the major infrastructure providers of mobile satellite services, though the majority of terrestrial-based satellite services continue to be fixed services. Mobile satellite services are required for operations such as fleet-tracking services, sea-based communications and outback mining where there is limited or no mobile phone coverage. The mobile satellite subsidy scheme has seen activity increase for those travelling to or living in remote areas.

While service charges remain high, this generally restricts growth in the use of services, yet with the availability of dual mode phones (GSM and MSS) there has been increased interest from companies in the market place.

This report reviews the market for mobile satellite services, providing details on the main operators. For information on satellite-based internet services and providers, see the separate report: Australia - Telecoms - High-speed satellite services.

Key developments:

Subscribers, market share, satellite mobile voice, satellite mobile data, SMS.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Addcom, Telstra, Optus, Pivotel, Thuraya, Globalstar, Just Mobile, Vodafone, Think Mobile, TracerTrak, Iridium, Inmarsat, Reward Mobile, AST Group, Indigo Telecom.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Mobile satellite services
    • 2.1 Introduction
    • 2.2 Second generation satellites with Globalstar to benefit rural Australians
  • 3. Public subsidies and regulation
    • 3.1 Overview
    • 3.2 Mobile satellite service band plan
    • 3.3 Mobile satellite phone subsidies
      • 3.3.1 Background information
      • 3.3.2 Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme
      • 3.3.3 Call to extend mobile coverage in rural areas
  • 4. Overview of operators
    • 4.1 Telstra
      • 4.1.1 Overview
      • 4.1.2 Innovative satellite and 3G solutions
      • 4.1.3 Iterra (VSATs)
    • 4.2 Optus
      • 4.2.1 MobileSat
      • 4.2.2 Thuraya
    • 4.3 Pivotal Group
      • 4.3.1 Company Overview
      • 4.3.2 Satellite services
      • 4.3.3 PT. Pivotel Amalgam Indonesia
    • 4.4 VIX QuikTrak
      • 4.4.1 Company overview
    • 4.5 AST Australia
      • 4.5.1 Company overview
    • 4.6 Addcom
      • 4.6.1 Company overview
      • 4.6.2 Local CallSAT
    • 4.7 Indigo Telecom
      • 4.7.1 Company overview
      • 4.7.2 Expansion a key to success for the company
    • 4.8 FedSat – Australia’s low earth orbit satellite (historic)
  • 5. Related reports

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Digital Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)

Number of pages 10

Status Archived

Last updated 8 Dec 2016
Update History

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

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