Inmarsat Plans Second Satellite Launch For Global Mobile Broadband Network

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Second satellite launch paves way for mobile broadband launch later in 2015

Inmarsat is to launch its second ‘Global Xpress’ (GX) satellite on 1 February, bringing its next generation global mobile broadband network one step closer.

The satellite, Inmarsat-5 F-2 (I-5 F-2) will be launched on February 1 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and will cover the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean.

Inmarsat launched its first GX satellite in December 2013, covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and will be joined in orbit by a third satellite in the second quarter of 2015.

Inmarsat satellites

InmarsatThe company say plans to launch the “world’s first” globally available high speed mobile operator delivered through a single operator and claims this will allow businesses to improve connectivity and use bandwidth intensive applications no matter where they are in the world.

Services will go live in the second half of 2015, complementing Inmarsat’s existing fleet of L-band communications satellites. The speeds offered by GX will apparently be 100 times faster than Inmarsat’s existing I-4 fleet.

“Global Xpress is a truly transformational technology and, as we complete its global roll-out, 2015 promises to be one of the most significant chapters in our company’s history,” said Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat CEO. “Through Global Xpress, the world can move forward from the ‘Internet of Everything’ to the ‘Internet of Everywhere’, in which high-speed, reliable and secure connectivity is available anywhere and at any time – even in the most inaccessible regions – for customers on the move or to fixed locations.

“We believe that our new global network will power innovation, support economic development and help transform social services, from education to healthcare, in regions not adequately served – or not served at all – by terrestrial networks.”

Open platforms

The firm also plans to open up its platform to developers in the hope they can create new satellite communications applications.

“We have been providing global mobile connectivity for decades and want to leverage this position to facilitate the development of new applications, enhancing the way in which people interact with our technologies,” added Michele Franci, Chief Technology Officer at Inmarsat. “Our new open technology approach, based on building blocks made easily available, will allow both new and existing partners to take advantage of our cutting edge technology, particularly Global Xpress, as a platform on which to build bespoke applications in new areas.”

A number of new satellite internet ventures are currently in the planning stages, with Virgin and Qualcomm backing the OneWeb initiative and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently discussed his plans to offer cheap connectivity around the world.

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