That SpaceX is a huge deal – it’s already known. However, it seems Amazon (AMZN) wants the piece of the space cake too. The company decided to expand its empire and even Morgan Stanley believes Jeff Bezos’ ambitious satellite internet plan may become one of its most lucrative businesses.
Back in April 2019 Amazon shown their intention to get into the internet satellite business. Following in the footsteps of SpaceX and their Starlink satellite system, Amazon intends to launch thousands of internet satellites in the coming years. Now, they’ve filed their application with the FCC.
Dubbed Project Kuiper, it is aimed to launch a network of 3,236 small satellites to create some sort of interconnected network that beams high-speed internet to anywhere on Earth. Even though Amazon still has to put out a timeline or cost for Project Kuiper, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas thinks that this has potential.
Jonas said Project Kuiper represents as much as a ”$100 billion opportunity,” marking it as a play in the consumer broadband sector of the space economy. The estimate is based on Morgan Staney’s expectation that the space economy will grow to more than $1 trillion over the next 20 years. The company’s comments came in a feature on Bezos’ space business Blue Origin, the latest in Morgan Stanley’s series on “space disruptor” companies. He said:
“We believe investors may want to pay attention to Jeff Bezos for the advancement of efforts in Space, as he has demonstrated both the will and, increasingly, the financial muscle to put to work.”
Just for comparison, according to SpaceX, their Starlink system could cost more than $10 billion, and its CEO Elon Musk said that they might make $30 to $50 billion per year.
In their filing, Amazon said that there are almost 4 billion people in the world who don’t have access to reliable broadband internet. With their project, they intend to fill that gap.
Project Kuiper’s satellites would be grouped into 98 different orbital planes. They’ll also be grouped into two orbital shells: 590 km and 630 km (366 and 390 miles.) They would operate in the Ka-band radio frequencies. Amazon, however, said their system won’t provide coverage to the entire globe. Too far north or too far south will probably be out of the reach, but most of the world’s population will be within.
In their application to the FCC, Amazon wrote:
“Amazon’s mission is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and the Kuiper System is one of our ambitious projects to fulfill this mission. The Kuiper System will deliver satellite broadband communications services to tens of millions of unserved and underserved consumers and businesses in the United States and around the globe.”
Last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai showed his enthusiasm for both of the projects saying:
“We now have in our sights new competition in the broadband marketplace and new opportunities for rural Americans who lack access to high-speed Internet access. That’s why the FCC under my leadership has moved quickly to give a green light to satellite entrepreneurs like OneWeb, SpaceX, and O3b and is considering other applications from entrants like Amazon and Boeing.”
We couldn’t more of agree that competition, especially in this case – is a great thing. We also believe that Amazon (AMZN) stockholders will have nothing against it.