Solaris Mobile goes for Euro S-Band

Solaris Mobile is the new $130m satellite-based delivery joint venture between SES Astra and Eutelsat, using Eutelsat’s W2A satellite due for launch early next year. Dublin-based Solaris has now formally applied for Europe-wide operational frequencies.

Solaris Mobile sees itself as a wholesaler of services to the mobile phone and broadcasting sector, and S-Band (which sits alongside the existing UMTS/3G radio spectrum) has potential applications in terms of DVB-H mobile TV, as well as satellite-delivered radio services (similar to that used by Sirius-XM in the USA).

Eutelsat’s W2A craft uses a giant antenna that means that receiver antennas need only be very small, and highly suitable for cellular reception (helped by terrestrial repeaters). “Solaris Mobile’s application was submitted as part of a tender process that was initiated and co-ordinated by the European Commission. The successful applicant(s) will be able to provide innovative mobile services, such as mobile TV reception, high-speed data transfers, public safety, disaster recovery and remote medical communications via satellite, anywhere within the 27 Member States of the European Union. In addition, operators may deploy complementary terrestrial networks where necessary,” said a statement.

Steve Maine, Solaris Mobile CEO, said of the company’s application: “We are excited to be submitting our application today in what promises to be a landmark development for European mobile communications. This timing complements our investments, with our commitment in 2006 to procure a satellite payload from Thales Alenia Space in France. Solaris Mobile will be in the unique position of being able to offer mobile satellite services as early as 2009, empowering state-of-the-art mobile networks and enabling innovative services to consumers across Europe, well ahead of the Commission’s deadline of 2011.”