Satnews Daily
February 27th, 2018

China's First 300 Satellite-Based Mobile Comms Network to Initiate Launches Later this Year

A Chinese state-owned aerospace company will, this year, start launching more than 300 satellites as the company presses ahead with plans for China’s first satellite-based mobile communication network.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said last week that the firm aimed to have 60 of the satellites up and running by 2020 to offer basic smartphone coverage worldwide to subscribers in China.

Yin Liming, chief executive of China Great Wall Industry, China Aerospace’s commercial rocket launch and satellite services arm, noted that Project Hongyan will be completed in three phases to form a global, low-orbit, mobile internet. There was no indication as to when the 300 plus satellites would actually be in service.

It did not specify when the 300 plus satellites would be in operation. The company said it would give Chinese users blanket global mobile and internet coverage, filling in black spots in ground-based mobile communications systems and offering pole-to-pole coverage. Earlier reports in Chinese state media said the network would integrate data monitoring and transmission for applications in various fields, including weather, traffic and disaster prevention. Other features will include an automatic ship identification system and two-way, real-time data transmission, according to the reports.

The service is also expected to improve the accuracy of BeiDou, China’s global satellite navigation system.

But there will be some competition in the crowded skies, ranging from 12,000 satellites from Starlink, to oneWeb's 648 satellites, both providing broadband networks. Mix in Iridium's NEXT 66 satellite constellation, Globalstar's 24 satellites, ORBCOMM's 31 satellites, Google's O3b network as well as China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation's planned Xingyun 100 LEO satellites, and there will be plenty of services from which users can make their selection — the first of the latter's satellites was launched last year.

Article source: South China Morning Post, Liu Zhen