Inmarsat launches first Global Xpress satellite

London-based satellite provider Inmarsat has launched the first of three satellites into orbit that will form part of its Global Xpress (GX) network.

The I-5 F1 satellite was built by Boeing and launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by ILS Proton.

Inmarsat hopes its GX network will become the first Ka-band network in the world to provide mobile users with broadband speeds of up to 50Mbps at a lower cost.

The network represents an investment of $1.6 billion and the remaining two satellites are due to be launched by the end of 2014.

“Global Xpress is the result of three years of planning and, together with a fourth Inmarsat-5 satellite we ordered recently from Boeing, represents an investment of $1.6 billion in our next generation of high-bandwidth, high-capacity, mobile broadband communications satellites,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO, Inmarsat.

Inmarsat recently bought a fourth satellite from Boeing as an insurance against failure in the first three.

In September, Inmarsat struck a deal with New Zealand-based IT and communications company Telecom NZ to manage its Pacific Ocean Region (POR) satellite access stations for the Global Xpress (GX) system.

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