In an official press release, a group of wireless telecommunications industry and technology leaders announced the formation of HAPS Alliance. HAPS stands for High Altitude Platform Station and the alliance has the goal to promote standardization of specifications to provide telecom network connectivity through the use of high altitude vehicles, like drones or balloons.
The alliance includes members like Softbank’s HAPSMobile, Google’s Loon, Ericsson, Nokia, Airbus, Deutsche Telekom and others.
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.
The new alliance should improve rolling out new connectivity technologies in areas that are now lagging behind, but it can also lower the need for ground infrastructure in developed markets. Anyways, it will be interesting to see the fruits of the newly formed HAPS Alliance.