SoftBank Planning LTE Services with Gilat Satellite-Based Cellular Backhaul Technology
[Via Satellite 02-16-2016] Japanese telco SoftBank intends to provide high-speed LTE services using Gilat’s satellite-based cellular backhaul technology following a successful field trial. This technology makes it possible for SoftBank to cost-effectively offer high-speed mobile communication services in remote areas where it is difficult to install fixed-line facilities and base stations. SoftBank expects to offer commercial services in Japan based on this technology within 2016.
SoftBank has used satellite backhaul to provide 3G mobile communications in regions of Japan where it is difficult to build facilities for fixed-line and mobile communications. The company contributed to the development of Gilat’s SkyEdge 2-c high-speed satellite communications platform early on, and conducted verification work along the way. The latest trials demonstrated File Transfer Protocol (FTP) downlink rates of up to 100Mbps using mobile handsets, which until now have been very difficult to achieve.
“With this technology, we will be able to also offer high-speed LTE services in mountainous regions, remote islands and other areas in Japan where it is difficult to install fixed-line backhaul cost-effectively and quickly. We already have satellite-based backhaul in those regions, but now we will be able to offer our customers LTE speeds. We also expect to see the application of this technology to the mobile network of our group company Sprint in the U.S. Our hope is that this technology will help play a role in bridging the digital divide,” said Yasuyuki Imai, executive vice president and head of the technology unit at SoftBank.