The GSMA struck an agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) to collaborate on developing new satellite and terrestrial network technologies, with the aim of enabling better integration with 5G and future 6G systems.

A Memorandum of Intent (MoI) signed by the pair focuses on strengthening the competitiveness of the mobile and satellite network industries by creating an ecosystem which can fast-track development of new complimentary technologies for business and customers.

In practice, the duo aim to collaborate by sharing knowledge, ideas and outcomes of trials. Key to the partnership will be the GSMA Foundry innovation accelerator, an initiative that brings together mobile operators and the wider technology industry, helping members “forge the digital future by rapidly developing real-world solutions to industry challenges”.

The GSMA Foundry will work with the ESA’s 5G/6G Hub, based at the organisation’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications in Oxford, which brings together the space industry on new “innovative programmes”.

GSMA Intelligence, the industry association’s research arm, will contribute research and insights as part of the collaboration.

Its recent findings showed increased adoption and integration of satellite technologies by the communications industry could lead to potential revenue gains of $35 billion by 2035.

GSMA CTO Alex Sinclair (pictured, right) said working with the ESA and the wider ecosystem could accelerate “the immense potential satellite and terrestrial telecommunications networks can create for consumers and businesses when they are more closely connected”.

The MoI comes hot on the heels of the UK government announcing a £20 million pot to fund the development of future telecoms technologies and aerial connectivity projects, including drones.