The enhanced capabilities, which will become available in 2013, include the introduction of high data rate technology, delivering up to 700kbps of IP data streaming per channel, and SwiftBroadband services optimized for helicopters and the delivery of safety services.
Inmarsat’s I-4 series of satellites can generate 19 wide beams and more than 200 narrow spot-beams. SwiftBroadband takes full advantage of with an IP-based packet-switched service offering ‘always-on’ data at up to 432kbps per channel. It can also provide IP streaming at various rates up to a full channel.
OnAir’s SwiftBroadband-based system enables passengers on Emirates’ A380 flights to make phone calls using their own phones or through the mobile data link on their personal devices.
Inmarsat plans a 2013 launch of a new Alphasat I-XL satellite. Alphasat will supplement Inmarsat’s current series of I-4 satellites, providing additional SwiftBroadband capacity over Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Alphasat I-XL will feature a 12-meter aperture antenna reflector for an extended L- band (1.6 GHz) payload. It’s based around multimedia mobile services already provided by the current Inmarsat-4 satellites.
Global Xpress will be launched in 2013, with full global coverage available by late 2014. It will provide downlink speeds of up to 50Mbps, from compact user terminals, using the Ka band (20/30 GHz), below.
Inmarsat confirmed the timetable for the launch of GX Aviation, its global Ka-band service. The first of the three I-5 satellites, currently under construction by Boeing, will be launched in the second half of 2013, followed by the other two at six month intervals. GX Aviation will be available from early 2015.
A new satellite band at 2.1 GHz was planned by the FCC. The Mobile Satellite Service, it was thought, would revolutionaize satellite phones with dual-use (cellular/satellite) connectivity. It turned out to be a big bust.
Both ICO and TerreStar, which used the 2.1 GHz spectrum, declared backrupcy. Their assets (including operational space platforms), were bought by Charlie Ergen of EchoStar. He hopes to use their combined 40 MHz of spectrum for terrestrial-based LTE service.
Intelsat operates a fleet of 52 communications satellites. SES of Luxembourg is the 2nd largest satellite fleet operator, after Intelsat (but they trade the top spot periodically). SES operates a fleet of 50 geostationary satellites able to reach 99% of the World’s population.
The largest fixed satellite operators also include Eutelsat (28 satellites ), Telesat Canada (13 satellites), Japan’s JSAT (8 satellites), Brazil’s Star One, Spain’s Hispasat, Australia’s SingTel/Optus, and Russian Satellite Communications.
Russia’s largest satellite-fleet operator, Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC), is in the middle of a major expansion program with Russia’s second-largest satellite fleet operator, Gazprom Space Systems of Moscow.
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The global MSS market will grow to $10.2 billion in 2020, more than doubling from today’s volume,” says Northern Sky Research.