Global communications provider Inmarsat eyes potential of China’s 5G
International satellite-based communications provider Inmarsat is eyeing China’s huge maritime satellite communications market despite the ongoing trade war with the US, and it’s especially interested in real-time connectivity with the arrival of the 5G era in China, CEO Rupert Pearce told the Global Times.
The Uk-based company aims to integrate its maritime satellite network with China’s landbased, commercial 5G network to cater to the nation’s expanding consumer base.
“China’s maritime satellite communications market is very large and growing rapidly. It’s also among the world’s most innovative,” said Pearce. Many crew members in the global merchant marine fleet and the fishery sector hail from China.
The Uk-based company has over the past 40 years launched and operated 13 satellites in geostationary orbits to provide successive and full broadband global network services that cover L-band broadband, high-speed Ka-band and European inflight Wi-fi S-band services, allowing wireless networks to be accessed from the sea and the skies.
Inmarsat started cooperating with and supporting the Beidou Navigation system five years ago.
For example, Beidou and Inmarsat have jointly developed a maritime satellite fleetphone for the fishery fleet in East China’s Fujian Province. The device, which integrates the navigation service with the communications service, is manufactured in China.
Inmarsat is also willing to collaborate with more Chinese partners in countries and regions along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) where Beidou has a presence, he said.
In 2015, the London-listed group signed a deal with the China Transport Telecommunication & Information Centre to deliver satellite communications along BRI routes.
The satellite group has big plans in China connected with the country’s soon-to-be commercialized 5G network.
“China is leading the way around the world in 5G service, which puts connectivity at the heart of … industries like automation, digitalization, the use of big data and artificial intelligence. We could help extend China’s 5G connectivity into the sea, into the sky and into remote and rural areas under a satellite-based network, serving as a back-up to a terrestrial 5G network,” Pearce said.