• Satellite Evolution Group

Altán’s Red Compartida to multiply the base stations connected through HISPASAT’s Ka-band

Building upon an earlier agreement reached in the middle of the year, HISPASAT, the Spanish satellite telecommunications operator, has finalized a new agreement with Altán in Mexico to significantly increase the cellular backhaul services to expand its cellular network. This way, the Amazonas 5 satellite will provide Altán coverage in the Ka-band to connect 665 new base stations from its Red Compartida which are added to the 65 stations in the original proposal. All told these stations provide a total of approximately 4 Gbps of satellite connectivity. Thanks to this increase, that will take place between 2021 and 2023, the company expects to provide services to more than 3 million people who will benefit from the 4.5G LTE coverage that Altán’s Red Compartida provides.

The roll out of Altán’s Red Compartida has recently finished its second stage of development and it is expected to cover 85% of the Mexican population in January 2023. The roll out may move faster in neglected areas thanks to the agreement signed with HISPASAT, since it does not have to resort to using land-based infrastructure which would involve exorbitantly high prices or which would simply not be viable due to the difficult terrain. Thanks to the new agreement, Altán expects a significant increase in the number of base stations in rural environments in upcoming years.

To provide this service, HISPASAT has optimized the performance of the Gilat SkyEdge IIC platform which operates in the powerful capacity of the Ka-band of the Amazonas 5 satellite to meet Altán's demanding availability and latency requirements. In addition to the satellite capacity output, HISPASAT offers Altán a comprehensive managed service that includes the equipment and installation, operation, and maintenance of the satellite links.

Ignacio Sanchis, HISPASAT's Chief Commercial Officer, says “I want to thank Altán for their trust in HISPASAT to jointly contribute to a highly ambitious roll out of its Red Compartida. We are very proud of firmly consolidating our business relationship and contributing to bridging the digital divide in Mexico. This agreement reaffirms HISPASAT’s leadership in the satellite cellular backhaul market, which is highly relevant to bridging the digital divide in Latin America.”

Fernando Bellido, Altán’s Executive Deployment Director, stated that “the work done now on more than fifty of our base stations has demonstrated that HISPASAT’s complete and robust cellular backhaul solution is a guaranteed option to speed up the ambitious deployment of our Red Compartida in the most neglected areas in Mexico, providing our users the best experience possible. As of today, our social coverage has an advance of 56,360 towns with less than 5,000 inhabitants and we will continue working to reduce the digital divide in Mexico.”

Cellular backhaul, a highly important vertical market in Latin America

The agreement with Altán is the latest in a line of new partnerships and contract renewals related with expanding cellular networks in the Americas that HISPASAT has finalized in recent months. At the end of 2020, the operator will offer connectivity to more than 2,600 base stations, distributed across Mexico, the United States, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador along with the recent additions of Chile, Colombia, and Argentina.

The cellular backhaul services that satellites provide represent an exciting solution for cellular telecommunications companies that want to expand their connectivity in areas where it is difficult to deploy land-based infrastructures due to geographic issues or lack of economic viability. Thanks to the satellite connection it is possible to connect remote areas with the global cellular network, thus optimizing economic investments and achieving the capillary networks that these types of communications require.

The implementation of 4G technology and the arrival of 5G also promise a growth in the demand for these backhaul services. This type of satellite solution is ideal for regions like Latin America in particular, with its vast landscapes, difficult terrains, and less developed land-based communications infrastructures in certain areas. Specifically, market studies predict that the demand for HTS capacity on geostationary satellites for backhaul services in the region will increase by 65% in the period between 2020-20291.

A basic telecommunications network for Mexico’s development

Altán’s Red Compartida is a 20-year concession granted by the Mexican government to Altán Redes which aims to promote the development of a wholesale, universal, continual, neutral and non-discriminatory 4G LTE network that covers 92.2% of the Mexican population by 2024, including 15% of coverage in towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants. This ambitious roll out will contribute among other things to bridging the digital divide, making it easier for urban and rural areas to adopt information technologies in order to promote the creation of new telecommunications companies, incentivize greater investments in the sector, foster new digital services such as the IoT and, in short, ensure greater connectivity and greater speed in the telecommunications services.