Is there a viable HAPS business model?
Feb 03, 2021 by Toby Youell


Tags5G, Airbus Zephyr, Alphabet, Deutsche Telekom, Google Loon, HAPS, High Altitude Platform Stations, Internet of Things, Telesat, Thales Stratobus, UWB

One of the pleasures of reporting on spectrum is that it gives you the opportunity to see the technologies of the future. Spectrum managers were dealing with mega-constellations and 5G, or reading about them in PolicyTracker, years before they they were discussed in the mainstream press.

But as well as technologies of the future, spectrum management is also concerned with technologies that never match their promise. Spectrum managers have spent many hours thinking about regulation for UWB and the Internet of Things, for example, but neither has taken the world by storm.

The difference between a successful and unsuccessful technology is probably some combination of technology, regulation, business partnerships, marketing, and luck.

So what caused Alphabet to cancel its Loon network of High Altitude Platform Stations? An imperfect technology? A lack of spectrum allocations and assignments? Dysfunctional business partnerships? The answer of course, is probably a little of all of the above. In short, it did not have a viable business model.

Google is not the only company looking at HAPS. So are their business models any better?

In a new research note we describe the different business models adopted by several HAPS initiatives, including Loon. The note includes a comparison of each initiative’s promised network.

Spectrum Research Service subscribers can access “As Loon’s balloons wind down, what are the prospects for HAPS business models?” here.