Most current satellite-based communications projects will fail by 2000, when the first are due to become operational.
According to a Gartner Group analysis of the burgeoning low-earth orbit satellite market, only around three out of 15 initiatives will survive. The market will not prove big enough to support all the projects, suggests the research group.
This is mainly because Gartner analysts do not endorse predictions that satellite will rapidly kill off cellular phone technology, pointing to "the dramatic growth of cellular phones" and claiming "satellite phones will not replace cellular phones.? .
Gartner believes satellite systems will be relegated to niche markets, such as providing seamless communications in areas such as India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and certain nations in Latin America.
The report authors wrote: ?IT managers and enterprise executives should not succumb to the hype surrounding the satellite initiatives. There will likely be significant consolidation as well as expansion of service beyond voice and data. Enterprise should not consider satellite-based telecomms as a broad market in the long term because terrestrial systems will usurp most users.?
The market has been awash with activity in recent months. Only days ago the US Federal Communications Commission allowed two companies to launch separate low-earth orbit satellite systems to deliver telecomms services anywhere on earth. The systems are Mobile Communications Holdings? 17-satellite Ellipso initiative, and Constellation Communications? 46-satellite Aries project.
Those satellites will have to battle it out in the skies with larger projects such as Motorola?s $13 billion Celestri programme and Teledisic?s $9 billion venture. Others include Loral Space and Communications? Globalstar, TRW?s Odyssey, and ICO Global Communications? 12-satellite project.
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