This question's sole answer Is it true, that commercial communications satellites account for the largest share of commercially used satellites? explains that:

the vast majority of the satellites in geosynchronous orbit are communications satellites.

Looking up the main use of such satellites, it seems to be mainly satellite phone calls and the like. Given the noted majority usage, I would've expected something else, like Internet relay, like how David explains the new LEO satellite constellations' purpose. Perhaps it's just old infrastructure waiting to be pushed out?

Therefore, what is the purpose of geosynchronous orbit communications satellites, and why is it the majority/primary usage in 2023?

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    $\begingroup$ You forgot about television. $\endgroup$ Feb 13 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


The primary use of commercial satellites in a geostationary orbit is to support television broadcasts. Television (especially so for high definition TV) is a very high bandwidth form of communication.

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    $\begingroup$ To be precise, geostationary satellites are used for these purposes. But all geostationary satellites are geosynchronous, just in circular, equatorial orbit. The obvious advantage over non-equatorial, non-circular geosynchronous orbits is that you aim your satellite antenna at a given satellite once and it just works "forever", while the the latter would require active tracking of the satellite's path in the sky. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Feb 13 at 12:19
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, I expected internet TV to be more prevalent. $\endgroup$ Feb 13 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ A disadvantage of Geosynchronous Satellites is time delay from the "flight time" of radio signals. This delay is perceptible in phone calls and intolerable for many data transmission purposes. TV broadcast not so much. Also, the distance is huge (100x that of LEO satellites) so mobile applications are not feasable. $\endgroup$
    – Woody
    Feb 14 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ @SF. Thanks. I edited the answer to use geostationary rather than geosynchronous. $\endgroup$ Feb 14 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ @AhmedTawfik Geostationary communication satellites used primarily for TV broadcasts predate the internet by more than three decades. In fact, internet TV relies heavily on broadcasts coming from those geostationary communication satellites. The recent FIFA World Cup had well over a billion viewers, thanks to geostationary communication satellites. $\endgroup$ Feb 14 at 15:45

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