BT Group and Stratospheric Platforms trial HAPS aircraft based 4G/5G coverage in remote areas

BT Group and Stratospheric Platforms Ltd have joined forces for mobile coverage trial at BT’s Adastral Park facility. This new antenna technology seeks to provide 4G and 5G from the air in an effort to unlock connectivity for hard-to-reach areas with cost-efficient sustainability.
BT Group and Stratospheric platforms trial HAPS aircraft based 4G/5G coverage in remote areas

BT Group and Stratospheric Platforms Ltd (SPL) announced that they would be conducting trials of a state-of-the-art antenna technology mounted on High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) aircraft. The trial is going to take place at Adastral Park – the global R&D base for BT – with the aim of providing broadband service even in remote locations which previously seemed out of reach.

Thanks to Innovate UK’s funding, this project has the potential to offer remarkable opportunities for industries that work in distant regions, such as transport, maritime security and search & rescue. It could bring faster and smoother connectivity directly through consumers’ mobile devices no matter how far away they are located.

UK network infrastructure can be extended with the deployment of HAPS solutions, and it could also act as a reliable backup for terrestrial networks in urgent situations like disaster relief or humanitarian aid. Moreover, its uses are broad, from remotely monitoring industrial sites to ensuring efficient operations on farms – offering countless opportunities for optimization.

With SPL’s advanced antenna technology, users can enjoy seamless 4G and 5G access directly on their smartphones. The phased array antenna is capable of providing speeds up to 150Mbps over an area measuring 140km or 15,000 square km – equivalent in size to 450 terrestrial masts, via 500 individual steerable beams.

HAPS offers not only exceptional performance and wide-area connectivity but also incredible cost efficiency and energy savings. With the phased array antennae and an aircraft fueled by hydrogen, sustainable 4G and 5G connections can be provided over vast areas from the sky – thus eliminating any need to construct expensive terrestrial infrastructure in far-flung regions.

To begin BT and SPL’s ascent to the heavens, they must first complete a secure 5G HAPS communications system trial. SPL will install its phased array antenna on an elevated structure (which serves as a stand-in for high-altitude aircraft) to assess how well it works with BT’s 5G secure network architecture in relation to its Open RAN testbed. During this experiment, multiple user groups utilizing distinct use cases need to be supported at the same time across one solitary network connection.

Tim Whitley, Managing Director Research and Network Strategy at BT Group expressed his enthusiasm for their partnership with SPL: “We are ecstatic to collaborate with them in order to unlock the immense potential of HAPS aircrafts. This truly innovative project is sure to extend our UK 4G and 5G footprint, which is already higher than any other service provider in the nation. It will further boost connectivity within rural regions while allowing us new opportunities to serve private users.”

Richard Deakin, CEO at SPL, happily stated: “The whole team is thrilled to be collaborating with BT Group in taking the groundbreaking UK-developed technology to an even higher level. Joining hands with BT will further help our mission of achieving a world-first 5G demonstration from the sky that we achieved back in 2022. We look forward to supporting Britain on its journey towards becoming a science super-power.”

Additional News

Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are propelling India into the 5G era with substantial financial investments and rapid network rollouts. Garnering over 100 million 5G users collectively within a year of service launch, these telecom giants are not only enhancing connectivity across the nation but also meeting the burgeoning demand for high-speed internet among Indian consumers. Amidst multi-billion-dollar loans and strategic expansions, the 5G race in India is unfolding at a remarkable pace, promising a transformative impact on the country’s digital landscape.
Ericsson ConsumerLab presents a deep dive into the evolving world of 5G, exploring pivotal consumer trends and network satisfaction across 28 global markets. This comprehensive research, involving 37,000 consumers, sheds light on the shifting paradigms of 5G user satisfaction, the transformative impact of 5G on video streaming and AR usage, and the critical role of 5G performance in influencing consumer loyalty. Furthermore, it explores the emerging monetization models, revealing that consumers are willing to pay a premium for enhanced 5G connectivity and tailored Quality of Service offerings. Dive into a world where 5G is not just a technology but a pivotal element shaping consumer behaviors, expectations, and loyalty in the digital age.
AST SpaceMobile has unveiled its space-based 5G broadband capabilities, achieving a new data rate of 14 Mbps, following successful 4G tests with AT&T and Vodafone. This was accomplished using the BlueWalker 3 satellite, in partnership with Vodafone, AT&T, and Nokia. This advancement underscores the potential of bridging 4G and 5G connectivity gaps globally. AST SpaceMobile’s patented technology will also be integral to their commercial satellites, with the first five set for a Q1 2024 launch.
Eutelsat Communications announced the completion of its all-share combination with OneWeb, the global low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications network, following the approval today at the Ordinary and Extraordinary General Meeting of Eutelsat shareholders. This combination forms the Eutelsat Group. The newly formed Eutelsat Group is strategically positioned to be a global leader in space communications. Eutelsat’s powerful GEO fleet will combine network density and high throughput with the low latency and ubiquity of OneWeb’s LEO constellation to offer customers global, fully integrated connectivity services.
Verizon introduces its cutting-edge Mobile Onsite Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) – a portable 10-foot trailer designed to deliver unparalleled private network, MEC, SD-Wan, and satellite services directly to clients. With its inaugural deployment at Lockheed Martin’s Colorado campus, the NaaS serves as a dynamic testing platform. Additionally, it doubles as a Mobile Lab for clients needing onsite application testing, further amplifying Verizon Innovation Labs’ customer-centric solutions.”
Scroll to Top

Celebrate your private hybrid (public/private) network achievements and stand out among industry leaders. Learn More