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Enhancing BGAN service

Inmarsat has announced a range of enhancements to its R-BGAN service. The service, which was launched in 2002, offers connectivity at up to 144kbps across a secure shared channel.

Inmarsat has announced a range of enhancements to its R-BGAN service. The service, which was launched in 2002, offers connectivity at up to 144kbps across a secure shared channel. Initially branded as Regional BGAN, access to the service was confined to a coverage area of about 99 countries.

Following the successful migration of the service to the new Inmarsat-4 (I-4) satellite, R-BGAN can now be used in a significantly larger coverage area. From its position over the Indian Ocean Region, the I-4 satellite supports the R-BGAN service across Europe, the whole of Africa, the Middle East, most of Asia Pacific, and Western Australia. Approximately 40 countries have been added to the R-BGAN coverage area, allowing users to access the advanced mobile data solution for the first time, and extending the service footprint to a total of 150 countries. Current users need to download a software patch and change a polarity setting on the terminal to benefit from the enhancement.

“R-BGAN was a ground-breaking service,” says Michael Butler, chief operating officer of Inmarsat. “When we launched the service, we took a lead in the satellite industry – introducing an IP service, charged only for the amount of data transferred, with compact and lightweight terminals. As other operators follow our lead, we’re now forging ahead again by increasing the coverage area available for the service, and bringing the costs down, making satellite communications a viable option for many users.”

Commenting on the impact of R-BGAN’s extended service and new pricing packages in the region, Samer Halawi, regional director of Inmarsat Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, says, “Since its launch in the Middle East and Africa, R-BGAN has not only proven successful in penetrating the region, it has benefited our regional customers by offering them connectivity anywhere at anytime, especially for corporate executives and members of the media who tend to be on the move more frequently.”

R-BGAN now becomes the first terminal in the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) family of services. Due for launch by the end of 2005, other BGAN services will offer simultaneous voice and broadband data connectivity – at speeds of up to 492kbps, with guaranteed bandwidth available for both IP streaming and ISDN connections – to a range of small and lightweight terminals. BGAN will extend terrestrial networks and open up a broadband environment for many industry sectors.

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