Mobile broadband for a data-hungry world

Global Xpress (GX) is the world’s first and only globally available, high-speed broadband network, owned and managed by a single operator. Since 2015, GX has been serving organisations and governments around the world, and today it is the gold standard for global, mobile broadband connectivity. Operating in the Ka-band, Global Xpress also integrates seamlessly with our L-band network to deliver powerful and reliable connectivity anytime, anywhere. For airlines, GX offers the opportunity to transform their passengers’ in-flight connectivity. For shipping companies and operators, guaranteed global bandwidth gives them access to smart digital technologies, even in high traffic areas. Multiple humanitarian agencies can access critical, real-time situational information for disaster relief, while broadcasters can follow a story as it unfolds, anywhere in the world. Governments can rely on secure, end-to-end wideband connectivity, interoperable with military satcom networks, for seamless airborne, naval and land operations worldwide.

Additional capacity to come

The fifth satellite in the Global Xpress fleet, GX5, launched on 26 November 2019 to deliver additional, focused capacity across Europe and the Middle East. GX5 will deliver more capacity than the entire GX1-GX4 fleet combined. Advanced Ka-band payloads (GX6A & 6B)will also be hosted on our next generation Inmarsat-6 (I-6) L-band satellites, scheduled for launch in 2020 and 2021. The most powerful and flexible mobile communication satellites ever developed by Inmarsat, the I-6 fleet, together with advanced ground infrastructure technology, will support enhanced user devices and services for the coming 5G era.

Connecting our customers to a better future

But we’re not stopping there. Inmarsat is committed to a fully-funded programme that will see us continuing to evolve and innovate Global Xpress to deliver even greater capabilities, capacity and agility. We are transforming the way we design, deliver and operate our infrastructure – from satellites and ground stations, to terminals and network management – to benefit existing and future Inmarsat customers, partners and investors. This next generation of Global Xpress satellites, GX7, 8 & 9, will mark a step change in the combined capabilities and capacity of our global GX fleet. The first software-defined constellation for global mobile connectivity, each satellite will deliver twice the total capacity of the entire current GX network. Their ability to simultaneously generate thousands of independent spot beams of different size, bandwidth and power that can be reconfigured and repositioned across the globe means we will be able to respond to peaks in customer demand instantaneously and with pinpoint accuracy, and stack up overlapped capacity over regional hot spots. The three satellites will be built by Airbus Defence & Space and are truly disruptive both from a manufacturing and operational perspective. Lead time from order to orbit has been significantly reduced, and the first launch is scheduled for H1 2023.

New Arctic capabilities

The Global Xpress network will also be enhanced with new Arctic capabilities. In a partnership with Space Norway and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT, two satellite payloads – GX10A & 10B – will be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbits (HEO), ensuring continuous coverage above 65° North. The world’s first and only high-speed mobile broadband payloads dedicated to the Arctic region, they will have the ability to direct multi-beam, high-throughput capacity in real-time to the areas of highest demand, and will integrate seamlessly into the existing and planned GX network. Demand for high-quality mobile broadband in the Arctic from government, maritime and aviation customers is growing fast. Building on our existing capabilities up to and beyond 75°, the new GX Arctic payloads will improve network performance in very high latitudes by flying directly overhead, providing GX antennas with much higher elevation angles to optimise throughput. In commercial markets, the GX Arctic payloads will address the needs of merchant fleets, fishing vessels, commercial airlines and the energy market. For the Government sector, they will provide continuous, assured tactical and strategic communications for customers in the USA, Canada, Scandinavia and other Arctic regions. The Arctic region satellites carrying the GX payloads will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission team, and are scheduled to launch in 2022. The transformation programme includes major enhancements to the GX ground network, which will deliver full integration of each generation of GX satellites to form a highly-secure, inter-operable, ultra-high performance network. Future GX satellites offering new capabilities can easily be added to this dynamic framework as market demand grows and technology innovation opens up additional opportunities. The new GX technology will be backwards compatible with existing terminals, meaning current customers will benefit automatically from future service enhancements. Through regular upgrades to GX network capabilities and features, they will always be able to take advantage of future technology innovation and disruption.