Telesat, one of the world’s most innovative global satellite operators, and TIM Brasil, the leader in 4G coverage in the country, has completed on-orbit testing across several applications with Telesat’s Phase 1 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite.
This first-of-its-kind LEO backhaul testing in Brazil was conducted with TIM Brasil’s Innovation Department staff at their state-of-the-art teleport in Rio de Janeiro, leveraging an 85 cm Intellian parabolic antenna to uplink and downlink to the LEO satellite.
Throughout the 5-day testing campaign, the teams measured 4G mobile data traffic performance over LEO, achieving an average 38ms round trip latency. All applications tested ran efficiently without interference, fading or performance breaks throughout the tests, including 1080p YouTube video streaming, video conferencing, WhatsApp voice over LTE and interface compatibility.
The resulting low latency represents a compelling opportunity for operators like TIM Brasil to expand their mobile and Internet services. Brazil has very good 4G coverage in population centers, but remote communities usually cannot cost-effectively be connected to the core network through fibre or additional cell towers due to long distances and difficult terrain. These tests highlight how Telesat Lightspeed can bring multiple Gbps of affordable, high-performance backhaul connectivity to connect many underserved regions and reduce the digital divide in Brazil.
With its innovative DNA, TIM Brasil is committed to achieving 100% 4G network coverage by 2023 and has been a leader in 5G testing in Brazil, even before the technology became a reality in the country. To this end, the operator opened its innovation laboratory, TIM Lab, in 2019 to test new technologies for its next-generation mobile networks.
“Coverage and network reliability are critically important to mobile customers, which can be challenging to deliver in a country as large as Brazil,” said Mauro Wajnberg, General Manager, Telesat Brasil. “Telesat Lightspeed backhaul connectivity will be transformative for Mobile Network Operators like TIM Brasil, who are seeking cost-effective, enterprise-grade backhaul solutions to affordably connect all potential subscribers, no matter where they live.”
“Through this testing program, we believe Telesat Lightspeed is a promising technology to expand the geographic reach of our 4G/LTE and 5G networks,” said Silmar Palmeira, Director of Architecture, Innovation and Technology at TIM Brasil. “Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite performance delivered mobile experiences comparable to our terrestrial networks and we believe Telesat Lightspeed, with a mobile-optimized hardware ecosystem, has the potential to become a core component in our future infrastructure.”
Though the Telesat Lightspeed production satellites that will begin launching in approximately two years will be more capable and sophisticated, Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite provides an excellent opportunity to effectively demonstrate how various applications perform over LEO and will ultimately be supported by the full Telesat Lightspeed network.