Intelsat Introduces New IntelsatOne Mobile Reach Offerings to Connect All Corners of the Globe

By Matt Abrams, senior product marketing manager, Intelsat

As satellite technology continues to evolve, the world is becoming an increasingly smaller place. Areas that were once hard to reach – cargo ships in the middle of the Pacific or airplanes flying at 35,000 feet – can now remain connected 24/7. Yet many densely populated areas of the globe still lack communications infrastructure, and mobile network operators have struggled to build business cases to profitably connect the unconnected. 

Intelsat recently announced its end-to-end managed solution, IntelsatOne Mobile Reach Solar 3G, that enables cellular providers to efficiently expand their network coverage into low average revenue per user (ARPU) regions that lack electrical infrastructure and were previously uneconomical to serve. The offering is the newest addition to the IntelsatOne portfolio of managed and terrestrial services and incorporates Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellites.

The Backstory on Backhaul

Intelsat has long sold satellite capacity for numerous uses, one of which is cellular backhaul – the connection between cell towers and the rest of the network that facilitates mobile phone service. In most developed areas, that backhaul runs on terrestrial fiber networks, but in remote areas, this option becomes less feasible, both from a logistics and financial standpoint. Enter satellite technology.

Historically, the majority of customers that have utilized Intelsat’s capacity for cellular backhaul have been large mobile network operators (MNOs) who construct and manage their own cell towers. As the mobile connectivity industry continues to advance, however, many MNOs have moved away from proprietary cell towers and have begun to outsource the build out and management of this infrastructure, choosing instead to lease capacity on a managed network.

Intelsat’s Mobile Reach Solar 3G solution takes this industry trend to the next level, providing MNOs with everything they need to put up a cell site and deliver to previously unserviceable regions – all in one package. Working with satellite equipment provider Gilat, Intelsat provides everything from the tower to the solar panels and the satellite capacity needed to get a remote cellular network up and running, along with ongoing network management as the network grows. MNOs are not responsible for any upfront equipment investment, which frees up capital to focus on other business priorities. Additionally, the entire offering is in compliance with all regulatory requirements and Universal Service Obligations.

Flexibility Meets Power

There are several reasons why MNOs may need to provide service in a remote area – perhaps there is a notable opportunity for growth in the region, or perhaps their spectrum licenses stipulate that they serve remote areas in addition to urban zones. No matter the cause for expansion, the flexibility of the offering enables Intelsat to deliver a tailored solution that meets MNOs’ specific needs for a given region, allowing them to expand service into areas that may lack infrastructure and an electrical grid. With Intelsat’s complete offering, MNOs can support the requirements of small-cell sites regardless of location or geography.

In addition to flexibility, Mobile Reach Solar 3G also focuses on efficiency. Intelsat EpicNG satellites enable MNOs to leverage equipment that is smaller and less power-hungry. High-efficiency VSAT equipment facilitates deployments using solar power to eliminate the cost and security issues of diesel-supported equipment. Overall, hardware has a lighter footprint and operational expenses are reduced. With the ability to share capacity across multiple sites, Intelsat’s services mitigate deployment risks and help drive immediate growth. 

The benefits delivered by Mobile Reach Solar 3G are clear – both for cellular providers and end-users. Providers can expand their markets, and end-users enjoy connectivity for, perhaps, the first time. Intelsat is proud to work with many of the world’s leading MNOs to help make that connectivity possible and affect change for these regions and their customers.