October 3, 2023

5G NTN: The Solution to Bridging the Digital Divide and Bringing Internet Access to 3 Billion People

According to ITU (International Telecommunication Union), around 37% of the world’s population, or 3 billion people, cannot access the world wide web. This unfortunate fact stems from the logistic and economic nightmares accompanying rural places’ connection with traditional networks.

That is where the 5G NTN (Non-Terrestrial Networks) come in; These networks aim to use satellites and other non-terrestrial technologies to deliver 5G wireless services to increase the coverage and board the other 37% to the internet.

As companies navigate the complex world of the 5G NTNs, research from 4G and 5G networks has shown that the technology is feasible in a traditional network ecosystem, and satellites will only further the course.

What we Expect from 5G NTNs in 2023

Network Vendors Seek Role in Emerging Market

Infrastructure companies that make equipment for regular networks sell big, complete solutions to mobile network operators. However, unlike traditional networks, the 5G Non-Terrestrial Network equipment market is tiny.

2023 will see the connection equipment manufacturers considering the pros and cons of providing the infrastructure to small NTN networks. But on the other hand, it could also be a chance for them to improve their 5G communication services and take over the new space market.

The 3GPP has allowed a way to build 5G NTN using “OpenRAN” architecture. This “Regenerative” architecture lets multiple satellites connect to one communications node on Earth and talk to each other through satellite connections. This architecture can make it easier to run satellite networks. It will probably be the most popular way to build a new 5G NTN in 2023 and later.

Mobile Satellite Connectivity Might be a Reality

This year, more phone makers will be interested in offering 5G satellite connections to give their customers steady network connections, even in places where regular 5G networks might not reach. This communications array will help phone makers get customers who want reliable connections, help the manufacturers sell their products to more people, and make them stand out from other companies.

Mobile phone companies like Apple, T-Mobile, Huawei, and Bullitt have already said they are interested in satellite connections in the coming year.

Scramble for Scarce Spectrum Resource

In 2023, the 5G Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) spectrum strategy will be a major focus. SpaceX is already seeking approval for its mobile satellite; during ITU WRC-23 World Radiocommunications Conference, service providers will be vying to work with companies with limited NTN spectrum resources.

This shortage will likely create a divide between companies that can offer NTN services and those that cannot. As a result, 5G NTN companies will partner with firms that can provide support and consultation for the 5G NTN environment. These collaborations will help them innovate current products and services and know how to invest and compete in the 5G NTN industry.


In conclusion, the 5G Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) has the potential to bring internet access to the 37% of the world’s population that currently lacks it, using satellites and other non-terrestrial technologies to deliver 5G wireless services.

In 2023, we can expect network vendors to seek a role in this emerging market, an increase in mobile phones offering 5G satellite connections, and a scramble for limited NTN spectrum resources. As the 5G NTN industry continues to develop, it will be worth following these developments and how they may shape the future of internet access.

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