Mobile Satellite Systems

In the early 1990s, many companies began to dream of mobile voice and data networks that would span the entire earth. Cellphones had already been inspired by the flip-top communicators of Star Trek,so the thought of being able to beam a message up to space was a marketer's dream. All would use low or middle orbits, eliminating the latency of VSATs and the problems of coverage at high latitudes. The first planned systems are summarized in Table 12.2.

With so many competing technologies on Earth—at the time, it was far from clear that GSM would emerge the winner, and CDMA was still in its experimental stages—satellite phones also had the potential to create a proper global standard. Why buy different phones for New York, ...

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