US-based satellite provider, Globalstar, has fired six second generation satellites into space to drastically improve data speeds on its Australian communications network.
The objective is to provide high quality telecommunications service through its Australian telco partner, Pivotel, especially in underserved rural regions. Pivotel, has been selling Globalstar services for the past seven years.
The technology is said to bump voice data speeds from 9.6kbps to 256kbps on mobile satellite handsets to minimise voice call delays. While existing handsets are compatible with the new satellites, new handsets are required to take full advantage of increased data speeds. Pivotel expects customers to see improvements in voice data speeds next year due to upgrades on its end.
The potential speed for mobile broadband through the use of special modems is much higher and Pivotel is gearing to bring out mobile broadband plans by 2013. More to follow.
This is just phase one of the vendor’s satellite upgrade initiative to overhaul its aging satellite network.
A further three satellites will be launched next year and according to GlobalStar, the full potential of the satellite clusters can be experienced by 2013.
Four years of planning and $1 billion of investment went into the launch on Globalstar’s end.
Pivotel owns and runs three ground based satellite communications facilities. It is looking to pour $20 million to upgrade the facilities as a result of the satellite launch.
“With a 15-year design life, the new satellite constellation will secure our space segment beyond 2010,” Globalstar CEO, Peter Dalton, said in a statement.
Globalstar plans to launch a total of 24 satellites globally over a 19 month period. The company already runs 40 first generation satellites.