Monday, January 19, 2009

Inmarsat warns of BGAN outages

Inmarsat has warned Asian users of its Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) that they will lose some coverage over the next month as the operator repositions three satellites. The coverage gap for Asia will include much of China, most of southeast Asia, Western Australia, and all of Korea until the repositioning is completed tentatively by February 24.

Inmarsat coverage

The first phase of the repositioning is already underway, with the F2 satellite being relocated to better cover India and EMEA, Inmarsat's most heavily trafficked area. The repositioning move leaves a strip of the Atlantic Ocean and parts of the coasts of Africa, the UK and Greenland uncovered.

Once that phase is completed by February 7, the next phase will involve moving the F1 satellite to extend coverage in the Asia-Pacific, currently Inmarsat’s biggest BGAN customer base.

Inmarsat’s third I-4 satellite (I-4 F3), launched late last year, went into commercial service January 7, taking over BGAN traffic (including its new FleetBroadband and SwiftBroadband customers for maritime and aeronautical, respectively) from the I-4 F2 satellite. Because the first two I-4 birds were positioned to provide as much coverage as possible until the third satellite was ready, they must now be repositioned to optimize coverage over the land masses they serve and provide better look angles for the terminals.

No customer would completely lose service during the outage, and that everyone has been forewarned. Services for maritime and aeronautical customers will still be available via the I-3 satellites, although some BGAN users will have to drop down to the previous-generation GAN services. Inmarsat and distributors have been working with them, and the customer reaction has been positive because they all understand the net benefit of better service after the positioning is competed.

The customer base for services like FleetBroadband and SwiftBroadband, which leverage the I-4 satellites to enable broadband Internet services on ships and airplanes, is pretty small. Inmarsat launched those services about a year ago, and there is only about 1,500 FleetBroadband users globally. It means there’ll be very little impact for maritime users. Most of them have installed FleetBroadband gear alongside existing Inmarsat equipment. They have something naturally to fall back on. And most importantly it doesn’t impact safety services at all.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Thuraya Location Services Launched

Building upon the success of "ThurayaLocate" service launched in August 2008, two more location services based on Thuraya system have recently been launched by Geonix, a leading UK-based location services and equipment provider. ThurayaAssist and ThurayaRelay are new services that are deployed on the GPS feature built in Thuraya handsets.

thuraya locaton service

Uniquely, every satellite phone developed for the Thuraya network contains an embedded GPS positioning system, and this is used - when initiated by the user - to report the handset's position to the Thuraya location service servers.

ThurayaAssistTM caters to corporate clients, NGOs and government organizations and is a fully manned and managed emergency position and response service available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.With one call to the global control center, advice and assistance is initiated from specially trained security specialists, who are able to view the user's location from within 10 meters, anywhere on earth. Consequently, routine position reports and emergency SMS messages can be relayed up to ten email addresses and mobile phone numbers of family, friends and loved ones to know where users of ThurayaAssistTM are. Additionally, tailored security information and pre-trip briefings for all countries is provided with unlimited usage to members of the new service. ThurayaAssistTM is provided at a subscription cost of just $249.99 a year per handset.

ThurayaRelayTM is a service also for corporate clients, NGOs and government organisations that wish to have the relaying of routine and emergency position reports, but who wish to manage the response centre themselves. A full range of country and region security information continues to be available via access through the website. The cost for ThurayaRelayTM is $149.99 a year per handset.

Both services are only available on customer's demand and can be subscribed to online by logging onto ThurayaLocate, ThurayaAssist and ThurayaRelay web sites. Moreover, subscribers can message Geonix on a specialised Thuraya number or contact Geonix directly. Alternatively, they can demand the service from their Thuraya SP. ThurayaAssist and ThurayaRelay are unique services that preserve the privacy rights of all users.

Labels: , , , , ,