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Globalstar and Manx Telecom to Develop Integrated Cellular and Mobile Satellite Service

By | April 18, 2016
      Artist's rendering of a Globalstar satellite

      Artist’s rendering of a Globalstar satellite. Photo: Globalstar

      [Via Satellite 04-18-2016] Globalstar Europe Satellite Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc., and Isle of Man-based Manx Telecom, have partnered to develop EMN, a new multiple technology communications system that aims to switch between multiple cellular networks and a Direct-to-User (DtU) mobile satellite network. Using Globalstar’s Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, EMN is intending to be a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solution that will enable users to communicate as normal with their existing devices, such as smartphones or tablets, but with ubiquitous nationwide coverage via satellite operations.

      With EMN, which uses Manx Telecom’s Smart SIM technology, when a user’s signal level begins to weaken due to the limited reach of the carrier’s coverage or disappears due to a natural or man-made disaster, connectivity will be automatically handed over to another mobile network that is in range. If a terrestrial network is not available, network connectivity will be transferred onto Globalstar’s system.

      One of the first services to be developed by the new alliance is FRAN, which will enable all first responders to continue making and receiving calls in the event that cellular networks become unavailable. Supported by specialist technical consultancy firm Intelcomm, this will be especially vital in a fast developing emergency situation when users suddenly have their communication cut off due to network overload, pre-emption or land-based infrastructure damage.

      Using the satellite network directly, the EMN solution does not require a backhaul solution. The satellites orbit at just 1,400 km above the Earth, providing much lower latency than other satellite networks in higher orbits. In addition, there is high reliability in that there are one or more satellites visible from any given point.

      In the summer of 2016, Manx Telecom and Globalstar are targeting a trial service of FRAN involving parties from the emergency services community.