Valour Consultancy released its preliminary data for our upcoming maritime cellular report last week. After months of enlightening interviews, tantalising research discussions, and much data extrapolation, the report is almost ready. The first-of-its-kind study will be released before the end of November and more information on it can be found here.
What is fascinating about this market is the surprising number of maritime vessels equipped with cellular capabilities. Traditionally, satellite communications have dominated the headlines for maritime connectivity, and we are sure everyone would be talking much more about the growing deployment of 5G if the new LEO VSAT players had not made such an entrance to the party over the last 15 months.
What Does the Future Hold for Maritime Cellular?
In compiling our preliminary data, we noted twelve key takeaways. The number 12 is ubiquitous — it’s the number of months in a year, hours on a clock face and the number of members on a typical court jury, “Not Guilty, your Honour”.
Furthermore, in Ancient Greece there were the 12 major gods of Olympus….
- Tampnet and Marlink tussled for the top spot based on our preliminary data. Tampnet marginally accounted for more retail cellular data revenues than Marlink Group in 2021*.
- Many vessel owners and operators will buy their cellular data directly from regional and global mobile operators. Some of these will be consumer packages not permitted for enterprise/industry use. Nevertheless, they still do.
- 73% of vessel subscriptions are attributed to this channel of direct mobile operators, but only 20% of revenues are generated from the channel. It doesn’t take a PhD holder to figure this out, but the global average monthly cellular fee for a service provider is more than $1,500, whilst a direct-to-mobile operator solution is $215 per vessel.
- We valued the global maritime cellular airtime data market at $292 million in 2021. It is estimated the annual market revenues expanded to $330 million by the end of 2022. However, it is anticipated to drop in 2023 due to the growing popularity of LEO VSAT services. The market is projected to gradually rebound from this deficit in the coming years as more vessel users incorporate hybrid connectivity solutions.
- Unsurprising to many, the leisure market had the biggest number of vessels using cellular technologies in the maritime sphere. We estimated more than 18,031 vessels were actively using cellular packages in 2022. We valued the market at $47.5 million, equating to an average monthly revenue fee of $220 in 2022.
- From a revenue perspective, the offshore energy market was the biggest revenue generator for cellular technologies. We recorded more than 7,000 vessels with cellular packages and recorded the average monthly revenue fee in excess of $2,150 globally.
- We estimated that Tampnet had more than 3,200 offshore energy vessels, either direct or through its resellers, in 2021.
- Poynting Technologies dominated the global cellular antenna market. We estimated that the South African technology company accounted for 45% of maritime cellular antenna revenues in 2021. Peplink has grown this portion of this business of late, nevertheless. Watch this space over the next two years.
- Regarding cellular router, Peplink were the largest supplier of hardware, and we believe the company accounted for more than 40% of the market revenues in 2021. Cradlepoint also held a good portion of the cellular router market.**
- One intriguing point from a satellite perspective, the router portion of the market is much larger in value compared to the antenna systems. The value of a GEO VSAT antenna system to VSAT router can sometimes be between ten, to one hundred times greater, respectively.
- We valued the cellular hardware market at more than $56 million in 2022. Although our forecasts have remained conservative for the cellular airtime package revenues over the ten-year forecast period, we project the cellular hardware market to grow at a faster rate. This is due to the growing popularity of multiple-mode communications solutions (hybrid) and the increasing demand for more powerful antennas, 5G/6G with more antenna elements per system. We believe the merchant shipping market has a lot of potential to grow.
- The key takeaways above represent a tiny snippet of the data we’ve collected and there’s so much more to share. If you’re interested in diving deeper into the maritime cellular market, please contact us here.
*We have excluded Tampnet’s revenues from its resellers, which would actually increase its overall cellular revenues. Additionally, we plan to include 2022 market shares in our full report.
**Readers should note we have excluded items such as sim injectors and tried to exclude other elements like cabling, which are typically included in cellular bundle deals.