Inmarsat teams up with AceS for global satellite hand-held device

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By  Published  September 22, 2006

Competition is heating up in the satellite phone market in the region with the news that satellite telecoms company Inmarsat is planning to launch a global hand-held service that should be available around the world, including in the Middle East, within two years.

The satellite services operator, better known for its earth orbit satellite network, said it hopes to garner a 10% share of the estimated US$350million global hand-held market by 2010. It plans to offer low-cost hand-held and fixed voice services through a new collaboration with Asian satellite services operator AceS International.

“This collaboration with AceS accelerates our entry into the hand-held market and begins to realise one of the growth opportunities we have been targeting. Leveraging our Inmarsat-4 satellites and network of distribution partners, we expect to roll out a global Inmarsat hand-held service within two years,” said Michael Butler, chief operating officer of Inmarsat.

The move was “excellent news” for customers in the Middle East customers, commented Samer Halawi, Inmarsat’s regional director for the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

He said Inmarsat would now be able to offer the full suite of mobile satellite services (MSS) to its customers in the region.

Under terms of the collaboration agreement, Inmarsat will assume responsibility for satellite and network operations, wholesale service provision as well as product and service development. AceS will focus on distribution of MSS products and become a distributor of Inmarsat’s BGAN services.

Inmarsat said it plans to expand geographic coverage for the handheld service in early 2007 using the existing Inmarsat-4 satellite.

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