Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mobile Satellite Ventures Accelerates Satellite-Cellular Plans

Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV) and its joint venture partner, MSV Canada, announced an agreement with Boeing to accelerate the deployment of its two North American satellites, which will form the backbone of its satellite-cellular wireless communications network.

The agreement will move up, by approximately eight months, the construction, launch and operations of each of the two North American satellites, with the launch of the U.S. satellite scheduled for mid-2009 and the Canadian satellite in early 2010.

These two new satellites will replace and expand upon the current MSAT satellite system operated by MSV and MSV Canada. The development of the third satellite for South America, MSV-SA, has been deferred to the third delivery position for the MSV system.


  • In January 2006, Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV), a provider of hybrid satellite-cellular communications backed by Columbia Capital, Spectrum Equity Investors and others, selected Boeing for a new generation of mobile satellites serving North and South America beginning in 2010.

    MSV awarded a contract valued at $500 million to $1 billion to Boeing for the construction of three satellites and associated ground systems. Although financial details were not disclosed, Boeing said this is the largest commercial satellite order it has booked since 1997.

    The network will based on MSV's patented Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology, which will combine satellite and cellular technology to deliver reliable, advanced and widespread voice and data coverage. The service will use wireless devices that are "virtually identical to cell phone handsets in terms of aesthetics, cost, and functionality."

    Boeing will also develop ground-based systems that will provide advanced beam forming flexibility and interference cancellation unprecedented in commercial satellite systems.

    The satellites will be among the largest and most powerful ever built. Each spacecraft will supply 11,000 watts of power through 5-panel solar array wings using highly efficient triple-junction Gallium arsenide cells. The 22-meter L-band reflector for mobile terminal links will complement a 1.5 meter Ku-band antenna.

  • Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology which allows existing satellite phone spectrum to also be used over dedicated terrestrial networks, with call capacity managed and reallocated, in real time, between satellite and terrestrial networks via a common control center. Calls can be made over either network using the same phone handset. ATC technology could be used to supplement satellite phone service with a ground-based network to provide a "back-up" signal in and around buildings where satellite signals cannot reach.

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