Americas Civil

Telecom-equipped drones could revolutionize wireless market

By Trahern Jones

Imagine having your communication made possible by an unmanned airship instead of through traditional cellphone towers.

Drones, known for surveillance and intelligence uses, soon could revolutionize wireless telecommunications, according to industry analysts.

Ed Herlik, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based researcher with Market Info Group, an aviation and defense analysis firm, said telecommunications equipment carried on drones could represent a major new market.

For example, bigger craft could offer a much cheaper alternative to communications satellites used by services such as DirecTV. Smaller, low-flying drones could offer a more rapid means of bringing in or restoring wireless capability than construction of radio and cell towers — ideal for remote areas or for use after any kind of disaster that wipes out wireless service.

“You can do commercial communications of all kinds,” Herlik said. “Those payloads will see over $1.1 trillion of activity.”

He paused to emphasize: “That’s trillion with a ‘T.’ ”


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