UK-based Inmarsat will spend $1.2 billion on a satellite network allowing it to offer mobile broadband services throughout the world.
The company said it had contracted Boeing for the delivery of three Ka-band satellites capable of delivering end-user speeds of up to 50Mbps.
These satellites will form the new Inmarsat-5 constellation, which will be used to deliver a global VSAT service titled Global Xpress.
“With the Global Xpress network, we will be the first operator to offer global broadband coverage,” Inmarsat CEO Andrew Sukawaty said.
He said the network will allow Inmarsat to offer 50Mbps services to ships and aircraft, and 10Mbps to consumer devices like the iPad with its 20cm antenna.
The Global Express service is expected to be operational by 2014. It will complement its existing L-band network. Inmarsat is targeting $500 million in annual Ka-band revenue within five years after launch.
As part of the agreement, Boeing has committed to purchasing more than 10% of the Ka-band capacity during these five years.