A group of global industry leaders announced that they are forming the HAPS Alliance, an association of world-leading telecommunications, technology, aviation, and aerospace companies that are united in promoting the use of high altitude vehicles in the Earth’s stratosphere to eliminate the digital divide and bring connectivity to more people, places, and things worldwide.
Members who have committed to join the HAPS Alliance include SoftBank Corp.’s HAPSMobile Inc. (“HAPSMobile”), Alphabet's Loon LLC (“Loon”), AeroVironment, Inc. (“AeroVironment”), Airbus Defence and Space, Bharti Airtel Limited (“Bharti Airtel”), China Telecom Corporation Limited (“China Telecom”), Deutsche Telekom AG (“Deutsche Telekom”), Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (“Ericsson”), Intelsat US LLC (“Intelsat”), Nokia Corporation, SoftBank Corp., and Telefónica S.A. (“Telefónica”).
The HAPS Alliance is being created so member companies can collectively advocate for High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business development with the relevant authorities in various countries, build a cooperative HAPS ecosystem, develop common product specifications and promote the standardization of HAPS network interoperability. All of these activities will be key to the Alliance’s aim of addressing diverse social issues and creating new value by providing telecommunications network connectivity worldwide through the utilization of high altitude vehicles. The Alliance, originally an initiative from HAPSMobile and Loon, will have members from participating leading companies across the aerospace, technology and telecom industries to carry out the Alliance’s activities.
The launch of the HAPS Alliance follows a previous April 2019 announcement between HAPSMobile and Loon where the companies formed a strategic alliance to advance the use of high altitude vehicles.
High altitude network connectivity platforms operate in the stratosphere, which is above ground infrastructure, but below satellites, allowing for near ubiquitous coverage that avoids ground clutter and significant latency issues. These advantages make such vehicles a promising solution for expanding mobile coverage to areas where connectivity is lacking—such as mountainous terrain, remote islands, marine regions and developing countries—as well as for IoT and 5G use-cases. The HAPS Alliance seeks to create an ecosystem to support next-generation global connectivity needed to revolutionize the world's mobile networks.