NICT released a report summarizing what was discussed in the "Study Group on the Integration of Satellite Communications and 5G/Beyond 5G" (August 2019 - February 2020) to study the effective use of integration of satellite communications and 5G/Beyond 5G, with the participation of domestic terrestrial communications providers, satellite communications providers, satellite-related manufacturers, potential users, universities, research institutes, and standardization bodies.

Figure: Space-terrestrial multilayered connected network
Figure: Space-terrestrial multilayered connected network
"Report Issued by the Study Group on the Integration of Satellite Communications and 5G/Beyond 5G" can be downloaded at the following URL:
(The report has updated several points to reflect changes in circumstances that have occurred since the end of the Study Group.)

Purpose of Study Group

In recent years, a role of satellite communications in 5G/Beyond 5G has been attracting attention, and several activities of European projects and standardization in 3GPP have been progressing. In light of this situation, NICT organized the Study Group and conducted specific studies on effective application fields of the integrating satellite communications and 5G/Beyond 5G, necessary technical issues, realization methods, evaluation and demonstration, and standardization.

Background of Satellite-5G/Beyond 5G Integration

We have seen that satellite communications can provide lower-cost, faster, and higher-capacity communication links than ever and softwarization/virtualization of networks can be effective to integrate satellite and 5G/Beyond 5G. Furthermore, 3GPP is standardizing on non-terrestrial networks (NTN) including satellites for the first time in 5G. With these as a background, satellite-5G/Beyond 5G integration is expected to create completely new use cases and to innovatively improve conventional ones.

Study on Use Cases

Based on social conditions such as domestic demographics during the 5G/Beyond 5G era (2020-2040), we investigated the effective system concept and required technologies to realize the integration of satellite and 5G/Beyond 5G for three categories: "Smart cities", "Mobility", and " Emergency disaster response", and we confirmed that it is expected to be effective in various fields of use.

Future Prospects: Communication Network in Beyond 5G

We concluded that the communication network in Beyond 5G will be based on a space-terrestrial multilayered connected network and research and development work with a view to realizing this network will need to be undertaken.


3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)
   A partnership project to study the technical specifications in the standardization work of the third-generation telecommunication systems and later generations.
Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN)
   Networks where spaceborne (i.e., satellites) or airborne (i.e., high-altitude platform station (HAPS), aircraft, or unmanned aerial stations (UAS)) vehicles are used as relay nodes or base stations. This network is defined by the 3GPP.


Space Communications Laboratory, Wireless Networks Research Center


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