Inmarsat enhances L-band network
British satellite operator Inmarsat is launching a "major upgrade" to its L-band services, which it said would offer faster speeds, and bring new opportunities in industrial IoT and maritime services.
Named Inmarsat ELERA, the narrowband network will offer speeds up to 1.7Mbps, which is faster than rival global L-band networks, thanks to the spectrum management capabilities planned.
Speaking to CNBC today, Inmarsat CEO Rajeev Suri said: "This will expand our business to new use cases in maritime, government, new sectors such as agritech, energy offshore drilling and so on. So it is to connect the unconnected around the world with billions of devices being connected and in the industrial IoT space this is a new opportunity for us.
The announcement was made just weeks after Inmarsat ORCHESTRA was confirmed.
On the financing, Suri continued: "We said we are going to spend $100 million with the 5G ultra capacity… then we will do the LEO satellites post 2026. Our focus is on global mobility, we are all for highest resilience, reliability, speeds and enhanced latency and capacity. So $100 million over the next five years starting from the second half of next year in terms of the terrestrial 5G layout and the current network we have announced today is very much within our capex guidance.
"We have very good momentum in the business at this point," he added.
Inmarsat already has 14 satellites in orbit and is planning seven launches by 2024.