Inmarsat has unveiled a satellite-based mobile broadband service with guaranteed data rates. The service is aimed at mobile users in locations with unreliable telecoms infrastructure. Inmarsat said the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) can provide both voice and broadband data simultaneously, and is accessed through lightweight satellite terminals — the smallest about half the size of a laptop.
The service — delivered via the Inmarsat-4s satellite — is initially available across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. But following the launch of Inmarsat's second I-4 satellite last month, in the second half of next year the network coverage will be extended to north and south America.
The network will offer data speeds of up to 492Kbps, with the option of guaranteed data rates up to 256Kbps. The company said: "The service is designed for mobile users who want dependable, secure broadband access when working in locations with an unreliable or non-existent telecoms infrastructure."
The company said the two satellites will deliver coverage across 85 percent of the world's landmass and 98 percent of the world's population.
Inmarsat COO Michael Butler said in a statement: "It enables anyone to set up a broadband mobile office in minutes and remain fully productive — wherever they are on the planet."