03 July 2019: Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, is to introduce two new satellite payloads dedicated to the Arctic region in a partnership with Space Norway and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT.
The new Global Xpress (GX) payloads support the rapidly growing demand among both commercial and government users for seamless, reliable, high-speed mobile broadband services in the Arctic and throughout the world.
Inmarsat’s new Arctic capabilities will further increase network flexibility and efficiency through multi-beam, high-throughput capacity that can be fully dialled up and down depending on customer demand in the region.
Today, the Arctic Circle represents a rapidly growing connectivity region for high-quality mobile broadband with increasing requirements from government, maritime and aviation customers. Building on Inmarsat’s current capabilities up to and beyond 75º North, the new GX Arctic payloads will improve network performance in very high latitudes by flying directly overhead, providing GX antennas with much higher elevation angles to optimise throughput.
Today’s announcement comes less than a month after Inmarsat’s decision to invest in three new GX satellites (GX7, 8 & 9) to be built by Airbus Defence & Space, which will deliver a transformational change in GX’s global capabilities, capacity and agility for the benefit of current and future Inmarsat customers, partners and investors.
The Arctic region satellites will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ABSM) team. Inmarsat is the only commercial partner to be included as part of Space Norway’s ABSM satellites, which will be built by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.
The new GX Arctic payloads (GX10A & 10B) will be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbits (HEO), ensuring continuous coverage above 65º North and will have the ability to direct capacity in real-time to the areas of highest demand.
They represent the world’s first and only mobile broadband payload dedicated to the Arctic region and will integrate seamlessly into the current and planned GX network. The GX payloads, scheduled to launch in 2022, will be fully compatible with current and future GX terminals, ensuring that current Global Xpress customers can benefit from the further extension of the network.
This enhancement of GX is further validation of the success of the network, first designed by Inmarsat in 2010, and now seen as the gold standard for high-speed broadband connections wherever customers need them in the world. Inmarsat’s diverse network strategy ensures the highest hot-spot capacity, optimal coverage, excellent ‘look-angles’ between the terminal and the satellite, zero blockage and deep resilience for GX customers.
Inmarsat’s GX network began global services in 2015 and it remains the world’s first and only seamless global mobile broadband network. Inmarsat has since grown GX revenues strongly and established leading positions in the emerging global Maritime, Aviation and Government mobile satellite broadband markets, with GX revenues increasing by 85% to $250.9m in 2018. GX is the most successful network for global mobility.
“I would like to thank Space Norway for providing this opportunity to deliver dedicated GX capacity in the Arctic region. Norway has been a strong, strategic partner for Inmarsat over many years. It is the home to one of our most advanced research and development centres, located at the Norwegian Maritime Competence Center (NMCC) based in Ålesund, which is part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology campus. Today’s announcement with Space Norway is a further example of the strength of this relationship.
“Connectivity in the Arctic region is growing in importance as aircraft fly more northerly routes, merchant ships transit new high-value waterways and the region becomes of increasing geo-political importance for diverse governments. Inmarsat’s GX network will always seek to be ahead of where our customers are going and what they demand from us. This enhancement is fully backward compatible and will strengthen coverage over the Arctic to provide the connectivity needed by our customers now and into the future. As part of the existing Inmarsat GX network, customers will now have seamless, high-quality mobile broadband services as they travel in and out of the Arctic region.
“I am delighted to say that Inmarsat will be the only provider of the mobile broadband connectivity our customers need in the Arctic region.”
“In close collaboration with Inmarsat and government partners we are about to get in place a strategically important capacity for all those currently operating in the Arctic without access to broadband capabilities. Our focus is on the users – fishermen, researchers, rescue personnel, coast guard, military and others. We are proud to join forces with Inmarsat and we are confident that this collaboration will be welcomed by those operating in the High North”.
Inmarsat’s current GX fleet is comprised of four operating satellites (GX1-4) and is planned to be augmented to seven satellites by mid-2021 with the launch of a further three GX payloads (GX5 and GX6A & B) which are currently under construction and scheduled for launch in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively. Inmarsat recently announced the addition of a further three GX satellites (GX7, 8 & 9) to the global GX constellation. With the two Arctic satellites announced today (GX10A, GX10B), Inmarsat’s aggregate constellation will therefore be comprised of twelve payloads.
Inmarsat Investor Relations
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Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.
The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite telecommunications networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for almost 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.
Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government, Aviation and Enterprise satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high-quality partner to its customers across the globe.