On August 18, France Telecom Mobile
Satellite Communications and Inmarsat signed the first distribution agreement for the new BGAN (Broadband Global
Area Network) service. On its launch in H2 2005, BGAN will be the first mobile satellite communications solution
to offer global coverage with data rates of up to 432 Kbps. Initially developed for land-based markets, maritime and aero versions
of BGAN are currently planned for commercial launch in 2007. The service will be available via a portfolio of small, portable terminals, offering guaranteed throughputs at various speeds. Voice communications
and data transfer via a 64 Kbps ISDN channel
will also be possible.
Inmarsat has also selected France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications as primary “IP interconnect” and “business support systems
” test partner. This will see the two companies actively co-operate in developing and testing billing, provisioning and customer support services
for the BGAN service. France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications will
also be the primary technical test partner for BGAN interconnection of IP networks and value-added service platforms. The test phase will begin as soon as Q3 2004.