The Oxford English Dictionary provides us with two definitions of “connect” that apply to human activity since the dawn of civilisation:
• bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established;
• join together so as to provide access and communication.
From early villages to water, rail, and road links to the modern age of digital communications, mankind has engaged in a never-ending quest to connect.
Those of us in the Western world take our connection to the Internet for granted, yet more than half of the world’s population remains unconnected.  
Throughout history the ability to connect has depended on network infrastructure, from water ports, rail terminals, to today’s digital infrastructure comprising of linked points via fibre-optic and other forms of cabling.  Even the exploding use of mobile and wireless connections rely on an undergirding network infrastructure.
The space age has ushered in a new means of connecting – satellite networks.  First employed by the world’s military and defence sectors satellite connection has expanded into commercial and residential use.
While satellite networks still rely on some land-based infrastructure, they offer a major advantage over exclusively land-based connected infrastructure.  Accessibility is virtually assured, as the network is less susceptible to land-based interruptions due to natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes, terrorist attacks, and the more common power interruptions.
US-based market research firm BCC Research estimates the satellite communications market will see a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10.5% through 2022, rising to $7.5 billion from $4.6 billion in FY 2017.
Futurists in the US and indeed all over the world are increasingly enamored of the ambitious vision of privately held aerospace company SpaceX.  While the company’s bold plans to reach for the stars stirs the imagination, SpaceX is also planning to enter the satellite-internet business, with robust revenue and operating income projections.  

Currently there are three ASX stocks in the network satellite space, with another offering software/hardware based mobile networks requiring no existing land-based infrastructure.  Each has a relatively unique business model, with one of the four looking to exploit a key disadvantage of satellite networks offered by the world’s largest providers – cost.

Speedcast International Limited (SDA) is the largest company and the only one generating both revenue and profit over the past three years. Between FY 2015 and FY 2017 revenues increased 187% while net profit rose a more modest 20%. 
For investors who believe in the potential of this sector, Speedcast is the safe choice.  The company supplements its massive remote communications capabilities with a full range of IT (information technology) services, claiming to be the world’s biggest provider of remote communications and IT services.  The company is highly diversified, supplementing its 70+ satellite network with professional services ranging from consultancy to IT and project management, and design and analytic services.
Speedcast has an impressive list of technology partners, including US-based Cisco Systems and HughesNet, a US satellite provider, as well as global satellite provider Iridium and Australian provider Intellisat. 
The company’s share price has been hammered this year, reportedly due to repeated profit downgrades.  In a recent development suggesting this stock has fallen out of favor, investors ignored the positive news of a contract renewal with Carnival Cruises, when it was learned the contract was taking longer than expected to complete the details. 

However, the company’s Price to Earnings Growth ratio (P/EG) of 0.07 is well below the sector average, supported by an outstanding two-year earnings growth forecast of 116.8%.  Speedcast pays a fully franked dividend with a current yield of 2.4% and a 9.8% two-year growth forecast.
SKY and Space Global (SAS) is one of many technology companies with ties to Israel that have chosen to list on the ASX, with its current headquarters in Perth.  The company’s attraction is its plan to be the first in the world to build and operate a remote network utilising less costly “nano-satellites,” at a reported cost approximately 80% lower than traditional satellites.  Three satellites have been successfully launched with plans for up to 200 in space by 2020.
The company has deals in place, with three new MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) announced so far in January.  The latest are with a Brazilian and a US company.  Investors who have been in the game for awhile know that MOUs are essentially agreements to explore possible operation relationships, i.e. can the nano satellites be incorporated into the potential clients existing operations.
Earlier Sky and Space announced MOUs with UK-based Extensia Bridges and AfricaOnline.  Investors may be ignoring these positive but potential developments, recalling the recent experience of another ASX tech company, Fastbrick Robotics – now FBR Limited – that signed an MOU to work together on the company’s HadrianX robotic bricklayer with global equipment powerhouse Caterpillar, only to see the MOU cancelled about six months after it was announced. 
Sky and Space Global has won numerous awards for its technology and has the potential to disrupt the satellite sector with its low cost nano-satellite alternatives.
Another Israeli entry to the ASX, Mobilicom Limited (MOB) began trading in May of 2017, with a share price in decline ever since.

The company’s business model is unique, employing 4g and Mobile Mesh Technology (a cluster of radio transmission nodes) to offer network communications without the need for land-based infrastructure.
The company initially focused on private networks for government and the enterprise sector, serving oil and gas remote locations, public safety, maritime, disaster relief, and security and surveillance.  Mobilicom named its technology as Bound-Free Mobile Private Network®. 
Mobilicom is now increasingly turning its attention to the drone market with its SkyHopper offerings, utilising the Bound-Free Mobile Private Network® for communication and data analysis on unmanned vehicles, without direct human intervention.  
On 3 October of 2018 Mobilicom announced a sale of SkyHopper to Airbus to be employed in the Airbus Drone Innovation Platform.  At the Drones Paris Region Expo in 2018 Airbus had their Innovation Drone Platform, with SkyHopper integrated into the platform, on exhibit.  Mobilicom management sees the Airbus contract as commercial validation of the company’s technology and a potential driver of future sales.
In September of 2018 the company announced a contract with the Israeli Defense Ministry for its radio transceiver terminals.  While yet to show a profit, the company has reported rising revenues and declining losses.
Beam Communications (BCC) recently changed its name from World Reach Limited, where Beam Communications began in 2002 developing a satellite terminal for Telstra’s use on the Iridium satellite network.  The company quickly expanded its footprint as a developer of satellite communications equipment globally, including both terminals and related accessories, later adding value-added services to the mix.
Beam Products include satellite terminals and docking stations, cabling, antennas, modems, and push-to-talk satellite phones and handsets. The company also develops specialised applications to meet customer requirements on its own and competitive products.
Beam has regional offices in the UK, the US, and China, with an established reputation as both a designer and manufacturer of satellite phone products.  The company has ongoing supply agreements with Telstra and Singtel and KDDI in Japan. 
For FY 2018 the company reported 17% increase in revenues but posted a loss of $1.6 million, attributed to “delayed deliveries.”  The FY 2019 outlook calls for unspecified revenue increase above the $11.6 million reported in FY 2018, and a return to “sustained profitability.”  Expected highlights for 2019 include the opening of the Indian market to Beam products and more business with UAE satellite provider subsidiary, Thuraya. Beam has an AUD$4.3 million-dollar contract in place to produce the Thuraya WE, a combination LTE mobile hotspot and satellite phone.
Beam’s 30-day average daily trading volume of 11k shares is dwarfed by the over 1 million daily trades from Speedcast and Sky and Space Global, qualifying Beam as an “under the radar” stock. Mobilicom’s 30-day average is 58k shares.  
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