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Hughes Network Systems today announced that it has successfully demonstrated LTE over satellite backhaul (pdf), including video phone calls. The testing involved the combination of a Hughes satellite modem with the soon to be launched JUPITER high-throughput technology and Lemko Corporation’s Distributed Mobility Wireless Network.

Deploying wireless 4G/LTE systems using a satellite backbone enables important applications for mobile broadband in tactical communications for both military and public safety markets, says Hughes.

Lemko’s DiMoWiNe is a key innovation breakthrough needed to bring mobile 4G LTE networks to warfighters and public safety officers,” said Chris White, executive vice president at Lemko. “Because of the need to have interoperability across networks and devices, remote and rapid deployment applications can leverage the massive worldwide ecosystem for hardware and applications.”

The next-generation Ka-band satellite from Hughes, the Hughes JUPITER (ECHOSTAR XVII), employs an advanced multi-spot beam and bent-pipe architecture, to provide well over 100 Gbps capacity in North America. Scheduled for launch this summer from from French Guiana by Arianespace, ECHOSTAR XVII’s capacity is equal to approximately 80 Ku-band satellites. It will augment the SPACEWAY 3 satellite system, which Hughes put into commercial service in April, 2008.

The main competitor to Hughes is the new Exede service from ViaSat, which provides satellite broadband at a fast 12 Mbps with a 7.5 GB monthly usage cap (up & down combined) for $50, a 15 GB cap for $80, and a 25 GB of monthly usage cap for $130. The new Excede satellite service replaces the older WildBlue service, using the earlier WildBlue-1 satellite that topped out at 5 Mbps. The older Wild Blue service is used to cover the dark blue areas on the map while the Excede service covers the green areas.

A one-time set-up fee of $149.99 and $9.99/month equipment lease fee are required for the Excede broadband service, plus the monthly service fees and taxes.

Both Excede (ViaSat-1) and HughesNet (Jupiter-1), can deliver satellite internet access that will dwarf their predecessors in space. The ViaSat-1 satellite, for example, has 10 times the capacity of its three current satellites combined.

The United States and South Korea, the two leading LTE countries, are moving towards VoLTE as a viable alternative to circuit-switched voice, despite there being no commercial deployments yet in the U.S., observes Fierce Wireless. According to Infonetics, while the first VoLTE deployments will take place in the second half of this year, believes there will be 300,000 VoLTE subscribers globally by year’s-end.

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