Inmarsat planning 50Mbit/s satellite links

Inmarsat is planning to offer satellite links running at up to 50Mbit/s, thanks to a deal it has signed with Boeing.

The company plans to invest an estimated $1.2bn in satellites and associated costs, such as  ground network infrastructure, product development, launch services and insurance.

The satellites will form a new Inmarsat-5 (I-5) constellation offering a global high-speed mobile broadband service, called Global Xpress, which is scheduled to start in 2014. It will serve what Inmarsat believes is a $1.4bn opportunity for VSAT services in the maritime, energy and government sectors, as well as developing markets such as the aeronautical sector.

Inmarsat wants to make US$500m from Ka-band revenues per year, five years after the global service is launched.

Under a separate arrangement, Boeing has agreed to become a distribution partner for Inmarsat's Ka-band and L-band services, and has committed to buy capacity worth more than 10 per cent of Inmarsat's target Ka-band revenues in the first five years after launch.

Andrew Sukawaty, chairman and chief executive of Inmarsat, said: “This is a new investment for growth. With the Global Xpress network, we will be the first operator to offer global broadband coverage, offering unparalleled speeds and bandwidth to customers in remote locations around the world.

“Global Xpress will be faster and less expensive than current Ku-band market offerings, it will be delivered to smaller and cheaper terminals and be the first offered on a seamless, global, end-to-end basis with high-quality of service. Picture 50Mbit/s services to a ship or aircraft, and 10Mbit/s to an antenna the size of an iPad.

“The Inmarsat-5s will also complement our existing global L-band services, allowing us to offer unique hybrid packages using both networks, giving users unprecedented levels of resilience and reliability in remote and harsh environments.”

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