SoftBank Planning LTE Services with Gilat Satellite-Based Cellular Backhaul Technology
Japanese telco SoftBank intends to provide high-speed LTE services using Gilat’s satellite-based cellular backhaul technology following a successful field trial. This technology makes it possible for SoftBank to cost-effectively offer high-speed mobile communication services in remote areas where it is difficult to install fixed-line facilities and base stations. SoftBank expects to offer commercial services in Japan based on this technology within 2016.
SoftBank has used satellite backhaul to provide 3G mobile communications in regions of Japan where it is difficult to build facilities for fixed-line and mobile communications. The company contributed to the development of Gilat’s SkyEdge 2-c high-speed satellite communications platform early on, and conducted verification work along the way.
Optus Satellite and Electrotech Connect Spirit of Tasmania Ferry
Optus Satellite and Electrotech Australia have partnered to provide satellite connectivity to the Spirit of Tasmania, a ferry ship that connects mainland Australia with Tasmania. The companies will enable consumer data and telemetry services to the vessel.
Electrotech Australia is supplying, installing and commissioning 33 SeaTel 6012 systems to deliver the high bandwidth Internet. Optus Satellite will provide capacity from its fleet, which consists of six satellites in geostationary orbit.
CopaSAT Becomes Airbus Defence and Space Partner for Skynet 5A
CopaSAT has become a channel partner of Airbus Defence and Space for Skynet military satellite communications primarily using the relocated Skynet 5A satellite. The company will offer Skynet services to U.S. customers for global security and humanitarian operations.
Airbus Defence and Space relocated Skynet 5A from 6 degrees east to 95 degrees east over the Asia Pacific in September 2015 to provide global X-band and Ultra-High-Frequency (UHF) coverage.
SpeedCast Revenue Grew 42 Percent in 2015
SpeedCast International grew its statutory revenue by 42 percent in 2015 to $167 million. The company also achieved a 42 percent increase in Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA), with profitability of $29.3 million.
Revenues in 2015 included the contributions from four strategic acquisitions as well as year-on-year organic growth. SpeedCast went on an acquisition spree last year, purchasing a total of six companies, which expanded its reach in Africa and South America. SpeedCast funded each of the acquisitions predominantly by debt, and stated that each was immediately accretive.
The acquisitions along with other investments strengthened the company’s position in maritime and energy. SpeedCast’s maritime business unit delivered 69 percent revenue growth year over year.
Measat Appoints new CTO Edmund Kong
Measat has selected Edmund Kong as the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Formerly the product line chief engineer at a leading aerospace manufacturer, he has 20 years of experience in the satellite industry.
Kong will focus on developing Measat’s long-term technology strategy. He will be responsible for understanding technology trends in the satellite and communication sectors, and in developing opportunities for the company. Kong will also be involved in new satellite procurements.
Thales to Develop Ground Component for Inmarsat’s EAN
Inmarsat has selected Thales to develop and manufacture a Complementary Ground Component (CGC) terminal for its European Aviation Network (EAN) high-speed In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) solution. Inmarsat unveiled EAN last year as the first aviation passenger connectivity solution across European airspace to integrate an advanced satellite network and an LTE-based ground network operated by Deutsche Telekom.
Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an onboard network communicator for optimal service delivery. As a result, airlines will be able to offer reliable, high-speed onboard Internet access to passengers across Europe’s high-traffic flight paths, using Inmarsat’s 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation in all 28 European Union member states.
Thales has already commenced development of the CGC terminal, which will be fitted onto aircraft to provide a crucial link with the LTE-based ground network. Development work is scheduled for completion in March 2017, prior to system trials and formal entry into service in the same year.
SES Acquires RR Media for $242 Million
In an effort to expand its media services capabilities, SES has announced the acquisition of RR Media, a company that provides global digital media services to an estimated 1,000 media and broadcast companies. The company’s services include Video-on-Demand (VOD) platforms and DTH and cover four main areas: global content distribution network with a combination of satellite, fiber and the Internet; content management and playout services; management and delivery of premium sports, news and live events around the world; and other online video services.
Christophe Hauwer, SES chief development officer anticipates the $242 million acquisition will close mid-year 2016. He also noted that the return on investment generated by the acquisition would be around 15 percent.
Hispasat Renames Part of Satellite Constellation
Hispasat is redefining the designation system for its satellite fleet to maintain designation coherency as the operator’s fleet grows.
From this point on, satellites will use Hispasat as their primary name, to which complementary information will be added in reference to each satellite’s orbital position and their order of arrival. Hence, when a satellite changes its location, its designation will also change, adapting it to the satellite’s new orbital position.
Hispasat’s Amazonas satellites will keep their designation since they are fully established on the market with this name.
European Commission Adds Additional Galileo Launch to Arianespace 2016 Schedule
The European Commission (EC) is accelerating the deployment of the Galileo space segment by adding a Soyuz launch in 2016. As the program manager for Galileo, Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), the EC decided to ramp up the launch cadence based on the confirmed availability of the satellites from manufacturer OHB.
Arianespace is now scheduled to conduct the launch of two additional Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites in May 2016, within the scope of the company’s contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Former RapidEye CTO Joins eightyLEO Executive Team
EightyLEO, a European company planning a constellation of broadband communications satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), has appointed Michael Oxfort as Chief Technology Officer.
As the former CTO of RapidEye, which is now a part of Planet Labs, Oxfort has more than 15 years of experience in designing, building and operating a commercial satellite constellation. With RapidEye he gained valuable experience with small satellites for commercial services. eightyLEO is focusing heavily on industrial IoT applications and B2B markets.
Hughes Receives Major Capacity and Equipment Purchase from Mexico’s StarGroup
Mexico-based ISP StarGroup has entered into a contract worth more than $200 million for a significant portion of the capacity on EchoStar 19 and a Hughes Jupiter System for the launch of a high speed Internet service in Latin America. Under the contract, Hughes will supply a Jupiter gateway, high-performance Ka-band terminals and a comprehensive suite of managed services for operational and customer support.
Hughes will install a Jupiter gateway in the city of Arica, Chile, and manage it remotely from its Network Operations Center (NOC) in Germantown, Md. The Jupiter System’s flexible configuration management and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will enable rapid integration with StarGroup’s existing financial and customer support systems.
Under the managed services agreement, Hughes will provide StarGroup with Virtual Network Operator (VNO) access to capacity over EchoStar 19’s coverage in Mexico. EchoStar 19 is scheduled to launch in late 2016 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket.
Brazil’s TIM Exploring Ka-band Satellite Deal with Yahsat
TIM, the second largest mobile operator in Brazil, is in discussions with UAE-based satellite operator Yahsat around the use of Ka-band services in Brazil, commencing in 2017.
“TIM is looking for the best processes to minimizing costs and maximizing efficiency, supporting areas currently unserved or under-served by good terrestrial communications links, extending offerings across the interior of the country and reinforcing TIM’s key role for social and economic development of these areas. Therefore, we have been discussing the use of Ka-band in Brazil for backhaul with Yahsat and we are confident in Yahsat’s technical and operational platform to serve our future needs,” said Marcelo Duarte, head of wholesale at TIM Brazil.
Al Yah 3, Yahsat’s third satellite, is scheduled to launch in 2017 with Arianespace.
Axesat, Sevis Team on Cellular Backhaul in Latin America
Axesat has entered a strategic partnership with Sevis Systems for the delivery of optimized 2G, 3G and LTE mobile services across Axesat’s satellite backhaul networks throughout Latin America.
Axesat’s solution combines its extensive satellite network and Sevis' Intelligent Backhaul Optimization (IBO) technology, including optimization and acceleration applications, to achieve high performance and reachability with an optimum use of satellite spectrum resources.
CPI ASC Signal Division Supplying Antennas for 2016 Olympic Coverage
The ASC Signal Division of Communications & Power Industries (CPI) has won a contract for eight multi-band antennas for coverage of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and other regional sports broadcasts for a major Latin American broadcast network. The contract includes one 7.6-meter dual C- and Ku-band transmit/receive antenna and seven 4.5-meter antennas configured with a mix of capabilities. Brazilian integrator Seal Broadcast & Content will install the antennas.
All of the antennas are equipped with the Next-Generation Controller (NGC) from CPI ASC Signal Division, which lets operators control and operate multiple antenna systems from a single device.
RigNet Closes Tecnor Acquisition in Mexico
Oil and gas telecommunications provider RigNet has completed the acquisition of Orgtec S.A.P.I. de C.V., d.b.a. Tecnor, a provider of telecommunications solutions and services for remote sites on land, sea and air in Mexico. Tecnor provides a wide array of equipment, voice and data services, satellite coverage, and bandwidth options to industrial, commercial and private users in a variety of segments from mission critical armed forces and oil and gas operations, to commercial fishing and leisure. Under the terms of the transaction, RigNet acquired all of the shares of Tecnor.
Gilat Satcom Releases ‘Digital Classroom In a Box’ Service for Rural Africa
Gilat Satcom is now shipping its “Digital Classroom In A Box” product to Africa. The company developed Digital Classroom In A Box as the e-learning component for its “Smart Village” portfolio launched last year to provide Internet, Voice Over IP (VoIP) and Video over IP through an affordable private satellite network. Smart Village is optimized for communities with low Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) rates, with prices for connectivity for individual villagers starting from $1 a month.
The Digital Classroom comprises a fully insulated and decorated shipping container with VSAT connectivity, a Wi-Fi router with 500-meter radius, a management and billing system, a projector, interactive screens, sound system and microphone, computers and tablets, tables, chairs and solar power.
Digital Classroom In a Box can connect with any e-learning platform. Gilat Satcom partner Intelitekis, an operator of an e-learning content platform specifically developed for rural communities in Africa, is providing a large number of ready-to-use syllabuses, that underwent extensive testing by the Gilat Satcom team.
DigitalGlobe Forms Joint Venture to Develop SmallSats in Saudi Arabia
DigitalGlobe has formed a joint venture with TAQNIA, a firm dedicated to accelerating technology development for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in partnership with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), to develop a constellation of highly capable small imaging satellites to support the needs of customers around the world. The joint venture will be responsible for developing six or more sub-meter resolution imaging satellites.
The companies expect the small satellites to be capable of collecting imagery with anticipated 80 cm resolution and to leverage DigitalGlobe’s ground infrastructure. The companies expect the spacecraft to launch in late 2018 or early 2019.
Es’hailSat Broadcasting Al Rayyan 2 Satellite Channel
Al Rayyan 2, a satellite television channel launched in 2012 to showcase Qatari cultural and national identity, is now broadcasting to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region from Es’hail 1. The mission of Al Rayyan 2 is to make authentic Qatar known to the rest of the world and highlight typical Qatari traditional aspects of life.
Al Rayyan 2 broadcasts with Es’hailSat in HD, carrying programs featuring Qatari culture, tradition and religion in addition to entertainment, business, lifestyle, sports and other shows catering to women and children.
NATO Orders Orbit Communication Systems Antennas
Orbit Communication Systems has received an order for OceanTRx 4 and OceanTRx 7 systems, its maritime satellite communication solutions, from a European integrator. The contract, valued at $1.5 million, will provide the systems for NATO Navy vessels to allow broadband connectivity at sea. This is the first order of the new contract with the integrator, which Orbit estimates will order multiple C-, Ku- and Ka-band maritime satellite communication systems in the next few years.
OceanTRx4 (1.15m) and OceanTRx7 (2.2m) systems support C-, X-, Ku- and Ka-band frequencies in various configurations. The modularity of these systems allows for easy maintenance and upgrade on the ships.
NovelSat Offers New Support Programs for its Satellite Transmission Solutions
NovelSat has announced the availability of a new, streamlined customer support program that offers customers a three-tiered set of support packages — standard, silver and gold — for the company’s satellite transmission products. The support packages include options such as 24/7 support, immediate response, free software updates, and annual system-wide auditing.
Craft Beer Company Using Satellite IoT to Monitor Transports
U.S. beer distributor B. United International is deploying satellite-enabled sensor technology from Ovinto to monitor the location, temperature and pressure of hundreds of beer, cider and mead brands as they are shipped in tank containers from breweries around the world. The solution uses Globalstar’s STX3 chipset to gain real-time details about the status of beer in each container, even when it is in transit across the ocean.
Craft beers often use complex yeast strains and are notoriously difficult to transport because natural re-fermentation can increase the CO2 level, turning beer into foam. Distributors have had to either hope for the best, or use a shortcut tactic of bypassing natural re-fermentation altogether through the use of forced carbonation — an industrial process which emphasizes efficiency, but can detract from flavor and aroma. By finding an effective way of shipping beer in temperature controlled tank containers, B. United can cut costs as well as ensure flavor and aroma quality.
Globalstar Seals Aero Connectivity Partnership with Avidyne
Globalstar has entered a strategic partnership with integrated avionics and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) systems producer Avidyne Corporation to develop and certify satellite-based Internet and voice communications products for the aviation market. These new solutions, for which Avidyne is the exclusive seller, will leverage Globalstar’s second-generation satellite network.
Globalstar and Avidyne will create products for light to medium business and general aviation aircraft to have low cost Internet access. Backup communication systems for larger business aircraft that are also equipped with a high bandwidth satcom or Air-to-Ground (ATG) communications system will also be available.
Satellite Capacity Prices Dropped 2 to 3 Percent for Past Five Years
Pricing for satellite capacity has fallen at a rate of 2 to 3 percent per year on average since 2010, according to new research from Northern Sky Research (NSR). The firm links the drop in price to industry factors such as Geostationary (GEO) High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and macro factors such as the spread of terrestrial fiber infrastructure, which it expects will result in further price contraction in the coming years. According to NSR, today’s spot pricing varies significantly based on application and region.
Last 11 OG2 Satellites Enter Service for Orbcomm
Orbcomm has initiated commercial service on the final 11 satellites in the company’s second-generation (OG2) constellation. The satellites are now processing more than 60 percent of the company’s Machine-to-Machine (M2M) traffic, and along with the OG1 and previously launched OG2 satellites, are collecting more than 18 million Automatic Identification System (AIS) messages from approximately 150,000 unique vessels per day.
Orbcomm launched the first six OG2 satellites in July 2014 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Spire Signs Rocket Lab for up to 12 Electron Launches
Spire, a satellite company focused on providing weather and maritime data to public and private customers, has signed a launch services contract with Rocket Lab to fly payloads on up to 12 missions with the Electron vehicle. The missions are scheduled to take place from Rocket Lab’s private launch site on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand from late 2016 throughout 2017. According to Rocket Lab, the site has the ability to facilitate a higher launch cadence and a wider range of orbital inclinations than any other site in the world.
At 18-meters tall, Electron is capable of delivering a 150kg payload to a 500km sun-synchronous orbit. Spire will use Rocket Lab’s tailored services to orbits specific to its requirements. VS