Inmarsat launches first satellite for faster broadband network

Reuters

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Britain's Inmarsat, whichprovides communications to ships, aircraft and remote locationsworldwide, has successfully launched the first satellite tocreate its new superfast broadband global network.

The satellite was carried on board a Proton Breeze M rocketlaunched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday,before it separated from the rocket in the early hours of Mondaymorning.

Chief Executive Rupert Pearce said the launch was a majorlandmark on the company's journey to deliver the world's firstglobally available, high-speed mobile broadband service.

The company is investing $1.6 billion in building GlobalXpress, which could eventually include four Boeing-made satellites. Operating in the Ka-Band, they will provideconnections of up to 50 Mbps, 100 times faster than its existingservices.

Pearce said in an interview that there was a 15 percent riskof a launch failure, although Inmarsat had never lost asatellite.

"A very big part of the risk has been retired," he said onMonday, about the completion of the launch and initial stages ofdeployment.

The company should be ready to trial the service towards theend of the second quarter.

"We have a number of customers looking to jump on board andstart trialling products and services, most notably ourgovernment customers who are anxious to be early adopters ofGlobal Xpress," he said. "We are within touching distance ofthat."

Shares in Inmarsat were trading up 5.4 percent at 728.5pence at 1628 GMT on Monday after the successful launch.

Analyst at Jefferies marked the occasion with an upgrade totheir revenue expectations for Global Xpress, and they nowexpect Inmarsat to produce compounded growth of 8.3 percent overthe 2014-2016 financial year period, up from 6 percent.

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