MANILA, Philippines — Smart Communications has announced the expansion of its mobile satellite service through a partnership with service provider Inmarsat.
The partnership expands the operator’s SMART Link prepaid wireless satellite service, subscribed to largely by Filipino seafarers.
The collaboration with Inmarsat involves a $5-million investment by Smart to set up a gateway facility and ground infrastructure in Subic Bay in Zambales.
Coverage will initially include India, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific Ocean.
Smart’s services will be carried on the Inmarsat-4 F1 satellite, which can support both voice call services and data connectivity.
This complements existing coverage provided by the Garuda 1 network of Asia Cellular Satellite (ACeS), which covers 11 million square miles of Asia, from Pakistan in the west to Japan in the east and Indonesia and Papua New Guinea in the south.
“By 2009, we will further expand the coverage for the SMART Link prepaid service to be virtually global by utilizing the full Inmarsat-4 constellation. We will be supported by one of the world’s most extensive and sophisticated global satellite networks,” Smart president and CEO Napoleon Nazareno said in an issued statement.
Filipino seafarers comprise more than 90 percent of Smart Link’s subscribers.
It also serves ship and yacht owners, residential users and businesses, government, military, mining and exploration and public calling office operators.
Founded in 1979, Inmarsat owns a fleet of 10 geostationary satellites that provide voice and high-speed data services through an established global network of distributors and service providers.