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GSMA's 'High Altitude Platform Systems: Towers in the Skies' Whitepaper

GSMA together with some mobile network operators recently published a white paper to promote the use of High Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS) technology to meet the need for broadband connectivity worldwide. We have covered HAPS multiple times in our blog posts. They are unmanned aircrafts that fly typically at altitudes of around 20km. 

The description of the paper says:

Operating in the stratosphere, unmanned high-altitude platforms (HAPS) could bring connectivity to areas that are either not covered, or are only partially covered, by terrestrial cellular networks.

This whitepaper highlights the potential of HAPS to meet the need for more broadband connectivity worldwide. HAPS are very versatile: they can be adjusted to prioritise coverage or capacity depending on the use case. Moreover, an aircraft can be deployed to cover a location at short notice. As HAPS can employ LTE and 5G, there are no special requirements on the user equipment: a normal smartphone can be used. As a result, HAPS can support a variety of use cases for both developed and developing markets, including:

  • Greenfield coverage – providing coverage in areas with no cellular networks
  • White spot reduction – filling in gaps in cellular coverage
  • Emergency communications/disaster recovery – backing up damaged terrestrial networks
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) – connecting sensors, appliances, machines and vehicles
  • Temporary coverage for events/tourist hotspots – adding extra capacity in specific locations
  • Fixed wireless access – a broadband alternative to deploying fixed lines
  • Connectivity for urban air mobility and drones – providing better connectivity in the air
  • Private networks – enabling organisations to deploy their own cellular connectivity
  • Terrestrial site backhaul – connecting base stations and edge data centres to the Internet

The white paper has been created thanks to the following contributing mobile operators: Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone; and supporting mobile operators: NTT Docomo, BT and TIM.

The whitepaper is available here.

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