Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, showcased its latest innovations at AfricaCom, which took place from the 12 to 14 November at CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa.
The availability of robust, widely accessible terrestrial communications infrastructure is an increasingly important factor in the economic development of sub-Saharan African. In this environment, access to fast, reliable and cost effective mobile satellite connectivity – such as that offered via Inmarsat’s global network – can provide an important catalyst to sustain or promote economic expansion.
A key aspect of Inmarsat’s services – and one which is generating significant interest across the region – is the security of its voice and data services, provided by secured IP encrypted data. This is supported by the company’s 99.9 per cent satellite and ground network availability. Additionally, Inmarsat’s broadband data services may be accessed anywhere on the continent using small, portable, fixed and vehicular antennas, most of which are as small as a laptop and even solar powered.
At AfricaCom, Inmarsat showcased the BGAN High Data Rate (BGAN HDR), a revolutionary service for broadcasters, delivering a step-change in video quality for journalists. BGAN HDR offers a suite of streaming rates and has been designed for use by any broadcaster, from the largest international media organisations to regional and local broadcasters. From 2014, broadcasters in Africa will also benefit from accessing BGAN HDR via Alphasat, the world’s most powerful commercial communications satellite, which is accessible across virtually the entire continent.
BGAN HDR’s full channel option will provide broadcasters with an expected streaming rate of around 650kbps and will deliver a significantly enhanced streaming rate, providing a step-change in video quality for journalists. Cobham SATCOM’s EXPLORER 710, the first terminal to access the HDR service, has a built-in bonding capability, enabling connection speeds above 1Mbps – previously only possible on a VSAT uplink. The BGAN HDR service is scheduled to ‘go live’ globally, late November 2013.
Today, when people need the latest on breaking news ‘now’, BGAN and BGAN HDR empowers journalists to report news live, publish news via social media, access central systems to file stories or transfer edited video wherever you are on the continent, independent of the local telecoms infrastructure.
Inmarsat also provided an update on Global Xpress, the world’s first global high-speed broadband, which will offer the unique combination of seamless global coverage from a single operator, consistent higher performance, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned. The first Inmarsat-5 satellite, which will cover the vast majority of the African continent, is scheduled for launch in early December 2013.
The GX service will be delivered over Inmarsat’s next generation of satellites, the I-5s, constructed by Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. Full global coverage from the GX constellation is on schedule to be achieved by the end of 2014.
BGAN Link Unlimited
Additionally, Inmarsat highlighted the benefits of its recently-launched BGAN Link geographic data plan – BGAN Link Unlimited – at AfricaCom. This ‘all-you-can-eat’ data plan is available to users in sub-Saharan Africa on all new 3 or 12 month contracts.
BGAN Link Unlimited effectively replaces all 3, 5, 10 and 15GB allowance packages in countries covered by Inmarsat’s ‘geographic plan’, because it offers considerably more data for the same, or a lower, monthly charge.
BGAN Link is designed to provide high monthly volumes of Standard IP data for sustained periods of operation from a fixed location, appealing to a broad range of industry sectors such as mining, construction and banking and finance. It supports data connection at speeds of up to half a megabit, and provides companies working in a remote area with access to standard office applications, such as email, Internet and VPN. BGAN Link supports all major VPN products and encryption standards and operates over the Inmarsat-4 network, with its record of averaging 99.9 per cent satellite and ground network availability.
BGAN is Inmarsat’s award-winning service to provide simultaneous voice and broadband data communications globally. It offers standard IP and a portfolio of guaranteed streaming IP rates to support data, voice and video communications in virtually any location. Supporting the latest IP services, as well as traditional circuit-switched voice and data, BGAN integrates seamlessly with corporate networks and legacy applications.
Inmarsat offers a wide portfolio of M2M services, designed to serve a broad spectrum of M2M applications, ranging from monitoring power grids to tracking road haulage fleets.
BGAN M2M is Inmarsat’s broadband global area network (BGAN), providing a ubiquitous and reliable two-way IP data service worldwide. It has been specifically designed for long-term machine-to-machine management of fixed assets and supports Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications especially for remote facilities and border point surveillance.
IsatData Pro is a global two-way short message service for machine to machine (M2M) communication. It enables companies to track and monitor their fixed or mobile assets, giving them increased visibility of business operations, enhanced efficiency, and greater safety and security for their assets, cargo and drivers – while lowering operational costs.
ISAT M2M is a global service enabling ‘store-and-forward’ of low data rate messaging to and from remote assets for tracking, monitoring and control operations. IsatM2M supports critical applications such as transport vehicle security, industrial equipment monitoring and marine tracking, giving companies visibility and control of fixed or mobile assets.