New O3bCell Platform Shifts Satellite Backhaul Business Model

[Satellite TODAY Insider 06-05-12] Emerging market broadband operator O3b Networks has unveiled a new solution that aims to allow mobile network operators to deliver 3G voice and broadband services in underserved regions, the company announced June 4.

   The O3bCell platform will primarily rely on satellite backhaul to deploy data services. O3b Networks CEO Steve Collar said he considers the satellite backhaul element of his company’s business model a first for the industry.
   “Satellite has always been the backhaul solution of last resort for mobile operators as the costs are high and the performance is lousy,” Collar said in a statement. "With O3bCell, operators now have the ability to deploy voice and data services beyond the reach of terrestrial circuits without compromising on voice quality, data throughput or performance.”
   O3b Networks now finds itself less than a year from launching its satellite fleet. The company designed the network to deliver affordable, high-bandwidth and low-latency solutions to consumers, businesses and organizations in nearly 180 countries. O3bCell also will deliver fiber-like latency, but remove any significant impact of TCP slow start on data services.
   O3b CCO John Finney said his company’s “future-proof” product is the only satellite backhaul solution that supports all generations and releases of mobile networks.
   “O3bCell’s low latency dramatically improves the quality of the experience for conversational voice, web browsing and interactivity,” said Finney. “Mobile operators who use the O3bCell suite of backhaul solutions will have a distinct competitive advantage in the battle to acquire and retain subscribers in urban, semi-urban and rural markets … O3bCell is a revolution in backhaul performance and affordability, facilitating the rollout of 3G services in regions that to date have been ignored due to the high cost and poor performance of satellite.”
   O3b Networks launched in 2008. The company spent the next two years raising $1.18 billion in funding from a variety of investors, including Google. In December 2011, O3b Networks announced it raised $137 million for the construction of four additional satellites that will aim to double capacity and boost redundancy over its targeted emerging markets, the broadband operator and service provider announced.
   The additional spacecraft will launch in 2014, joining O3b Networks’ initial fleet of eight MEO satellites scheduled to orbit in early 2013.

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