Satellite transponders are a part of the payload of a satellite and are used for receiving and transmission of uplinked signals. A single satellite may contain around 15 to 35 transponders. The signals transmitted from earth are received by the satellites at very low power level due to the big distance difference between the transmitter and the satellite. The transponders on the satellite are configured to perform at different frequency range for different transponders to amplify the low power signals received. The high power amplifiers (HPA) present in the transponders perform the function of amplification. The amplified signals are then re-transmitted back to earth by the satellite.
The global market demand for satellite transponders is constantly increasing primarily due to the increase in growth of new subscribers for Ku-band frequencies. Ku-band frequency is primarily utilized for data, voice and video communications and thus is the most favored frequency. Additionally, the increasing adoption of Ka-band frequency for high-bandwidth broadcasting and communication has also positively impacted the growth of the satellite transponders market. Subscriber upgrades has been another driving factor for the growth of this market. The growth in application sectors such as maritime broadband, in-flight communications and machine to machine (M2M) have also been boosting the growth of satellite transponders market. The expected diversification and increase in applications in the coming years can be expected to further boost the market.
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By frequency band, the global satellite transponder market can be segmented into C-band, Ku-band, Ka-band, X-band and others. Ku-band is the most widely utilized frequency band and holds the largest market share by revenue. They are primarily used for commercial satellite communications such as direct broadcast and voice broadcast among others. Ka-band is the highest performing frequency band apart from also being the most adopted band. One of the primary reasons of the fast adoption is the Ka-band’s ability to compete against the traditional digital subscriber line (DSL) technology.
Government and military applications are mostly limited to X-band and thus very few commercially operated satellites are equipped with X-band transponders. Thus this segments growth is expected to be much lesser as compared to Ka-band and Ku-band. Due to the requirement for large antennas and owing to the availability of vast coverage, C-bands are mostly used for maritime communications and is expected to record good growth during the forecast period. The others segment covers frequency bands such as S-band and L-band. The lack of proper infrastructure and the high growth of economy is expected to render South America and Middle East, covered under ROW, the highest adopter of satellite transponders during the forecast period.
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Some of the key companies leading the satellite transponder market are Arianespace SA (France), Intelsat S.A. (Luxembourg), Thales Alenia Space (France), Airbus Group SE (Netherlands), Boeing Company (U.S.), Lockheed Martin (U.S.), Orbital ATK, Inc. (U.S.), Loral Space and Communications, Inc. (Germany), INVAP S.E. (Argentina) and Eutelsat S.A. (France) among others.