SoftBank invests in satellite-based cellular backhaul for 4G

Telecom network operator SoftBank will be making investment in satellite-based cellular backhaul technology to provide 4G LTE services in remote areas.

SoftBank expects to offer commercial services in Japan’s remote areas where it is difficult to install fixed-line facilities and base stations within 2016.

Gilat Satellite Networks will be vendor for SoftBank’s 4G services in remote areas. Earlier, SoftBank used IPSTAR system and satellit for rural 3G networks.

SoftBank, a telecom operator in Japan competing with NTT DOCOMO, has already provided 3G communications in Japan by using satellite communications as backhaul. SoftBank contributed to the development of Gilat’s SkyEdge II-c high-speed satellite communications platform.

SoftBank has conducted trials demonstrating FTP downlink rates of up to 100Mbps using mobile handsets.

Yasuyuki Imai, head of the Technology Unit of SoftBank, said: “With this technology, we will be able to also offer high-speed LTE services in mountainous regions, remote islands and other areas in Japan where it is difficult to install fixed-line backhaul cost-effectively and quickly.”

SoftBank company Sprint in the US may also tap the satellite-based mobile broadband technology.

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