Dublin-based Solaris Mobile is now formally operating as EchoStar Mobile Ltd. The plans that EchoStar might have for the S-band satellite (and matching terrestrial activity) frequencies are now clearer.
“We are excited to take this symbolic step, which reflects the company’s ability to leverage the extensive experience of EchoStar in satellite services and mobile satellite technology as we ready for the launch of our S-band mobile satellite services utilising the EchoStar XXI satellite,” commented Steven Schaver, president of EchoStar Mobile. “Our plan to deliver the European Union’s first next-generation, all IP-enabled mobile communications network with an integrated mobile satellite and terrestrial system is on track to meet all regulatory requirements, including launching EchoStar XXI in early 2016 and beginning commercial operations in the first half of 2016.”
Despite the optimistic statement, the European Commission has warned ‘Solaris/EchoStar’ (and Inmarsat) that the S-band licenses held by the operators will be forfeited if they are not activated by December 2016.
Solaris Mobile (a joint-venture between Eutelsat and SES) financed and launched an S-band antenna in 2009, but the anticipated DVB-H business (transmissions to vehicles and handhelds) never materialised.
EchoStar bought Solaris Mobile in January 2014. The launch of the EchoStar XXI satellite is scheduled in the first quarter of 2016, and the deployment of ground infrastructure utilizing the ETSI GMR-1 3G air interface standard is on schedule for commercial launch in the second quarter of 2016.