On the go

Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat has unveiled the timetable for the rollout of its global mobile satellite service and developments of its low cost handset portfolio.

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By  Ronan Shields Published  April 12, 2007

Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat has unveiled the timetable for the rollout of its global mobile satellite service and developments of its low cost handset portfolio. Speaking at this year’s Arabcom expo in Dubai Samer Halawi, VP of Inmarsat MEA and Asia Pacific, claimed the company was able to leverage its Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) solution to generate revenues of US$500 million in 2006, resulting in a pre-tax profit of US$89 million. “We are pleased with our performance in 2006 and we anticipate that our BGAN rollout will provide greater returns in the next two years,” he said. Inmarsat has teamed with global satellite operator AceS to offer a ‘voice only’ service to customers in locations with little or no cellular coverage via its network of satellite technology in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. The service will be available in the Middle East in June 2007 as Inmarsat migrates to its own constellation of satellites. “This move means that we are able to service end-users in the MEA region where customers, such as oil companies, often send their field operatives into regions with poor satellite coverage. Additionally, this move means that we will be able to service most of Africa, as well as the majority of the Asian continent, by the end of 2007,” claimed Halawi. The company also claimed the service will be available to the global market by the end of 2008, as Inmarsat will eventually use its entire constellation to expand its coverage. Halawi also stated this move would coincide with the company updating its low cost handset portfolio. “We are excited about entering the handset market as it is such a lucrative one with a low cost of entry,” he said. The entry into the handset market signifies an expansion of Inmarsat’s potential customer base, as the company claims that it is now targeting the region’s individual end-users in addition to its traditional enterprise market base. When asked about the highly lucrative aviation solutions segment Halawi commented: “The technology to bring GSM services to aircraft is available but the main delay in offering it to passengers is airline companies still deliberating the social experiences of bringing this solution to market.”

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