EC paves the way for mobile satellite services

The European Commission has selected two operators, Inmarsat Ventures Limited and Solaris Mobile Limited, to provide mobile satellite services across Europe. The services, such as high-speed Internet access, mobile television and radio or emergency communications, will be provided over a specifically reserved spectrum. The Commission says both satellite operators demonstrated an advanced level of technical and commercial ability to provide these services.

“Mobile satellite services have huge potential: they can enable Europeans to access new communication services, particularly in rural and less populated regions. I therefore welcome that we have now cleared the way for the swift launch of these pan-European services,” said EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding. “This was possible thanks to the first pan-European selection procedure, developed in close cooperation with the European Parliament and the Member States. A Europe-wide market for mobile satellite services is now becoming a reality. I call on the Member States to take without any delay all the required follow up steps in order to allow a timely and proper launch of mobile satellite services.”

Mobile satellite services (MSS) will offer innovative wireless communications to millions of EU consumers and businesses all over Europe thanks to portable terminals carried by a person or mounted on a car or a ship. They can also help bridge the digital divide in the availability of high-speed Internet coverage in Europe by reaching rural and less populated regions.

The selection of two mobile satellite operators for the EU by the Commission concludes the first EU selection procedure for satellite operators launched in August 2008. Four operators were admitted to the selection phase in December 2008. With the assistance of independent experts the Commission analysed the technical and commercial development of these mobile satellite systems in close cooperation with national authorities.

Member States now have to ensure that Inmarsat Ventures and Solaris Mobile have the right to use the specific radio frequencies identified in the Commission’s decision and the right to operate their respective mobile satellite systems. These providers have to be authorised to use their satellite systems all over Europe for 18 years from the selection Decision. This is consistent with national practice in the sector and should allow investment to be recouped by satellite providers.

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