Inmarsat have announced that they have contracted Boeing to construct “The Inmarsat-5s” – a new satellite constellation consisting of 3 satellites. This move is part of a $1.2 billion investment to create a global wireless broadband network called Global Xpress.
These satellites will be the first commercial global satellites to operate in the high frequency Ka-band. Inmarsat will be able to take advantage of the increased bandwidth available to offer download speeds of 50Mbps and upload speeds of 5Mbps which will revolutionise data usage within the satellite communications industry. Currently Inmarsat can only achieve download speeds of around 0.5Mbps with its BGAN X-Stream Service.
These services will be available as soon as 2014 and the satellites have a lifespan of approximately 15 years.