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Home >> Mobile Technology >> Satellite


Satellite systems offer coverage over much of the world but with poor data speeds and limited in-building coverage. The cost to enter the market is very high and Iridium with major backers recently closed with huge losses but has since been reformed in a more limited manner.

A communication satellite is basically a microwave station placed in outer space. A telecommunications or broadcasting transmission signal is received by the satellite and then retransmitted at a different frequency. The advantage of satellite communication is that it can transmit data quickly over long distances. It also overcomes the problems of the curvature of the earth, mountains and other structures that block the line-of-sight of microwave transmission.

Mobile Satellite Services

Mobile satellite service (MSS) has not yet succeeded in establishing itself as a competitive market segment in the telecommunications industry despite much optimism since its introduction 10 years ago.

Although huge amounts of cash have been injected into research & development in mobile satellite technology and infrastructure deployment, there has not been enough subscribers to enable the industry to reach economies of scale. The big issue for all current MSS is simply one of survival; that is, can they serve customers who have become accustomed to high data rates, premium voice quality and low access fees all bundled into a small, attractive handset. Terrestrial networks (both fixed and mobile) continue to expand their reach with fiber and digital wireless systems, making it difficult for MSS to compete except in the most remote areas of the planet.

Many MSS satellites simply are mirrors that bounce signals from point A to point B in a design known as bent pipe. In this configuration, the primary communications intelligence is housed on the ground at gateways.