Effect of Satellite Communication on today’s Mobile Communication


The demand for mobile communications appears to be increasing, prompting manufacturers and suppliers to develop such equipment and capabilities as extremely portable telephones, placing phone calls from airplanes in flight and interactive videotex and weather services. The number of users on one system alone has tripled from 1982 to 1985. Paging systems are expected to become even more popular. Various influences throughout the industry will cause changes in mobile communications. They include spectrum shortages, standardization and equipment costs. The further development and use of ISDNs will reduce network costs and increase network flexibility and help make possible global communications.

Although mobile communications has often been described as a rich man's toy, it is clearly an unfair description as the term embraces far more technologies than the telephone in the chief executive's Mercedes Benz. In the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) radio regulations, the definition of a "mobile service" is very broad: "A radio communication service between mobile and land stations, or between mobile stations." A mobile station, under this definition, can be one used on land, across the seas or in the air. The service can be provided by terrestrial means or by satellite.

The demand for mobile communications continues unabated. The market wants or is being offered mobile communications in varied forms. A huge consumer market is expected for highly portable telephones, which are so small they can be carried not only in a briefcase, but in a pocket. In some countries, notably Scandinavia and Japan, the peripatetic user can or will be able to place a phone call from a bus or taxi.

In the US, passengers on domestic flights cam make telephone calls to their home or office by inserting their credit card in the wall-mounted console. When they complete the call, they return the phone to its cradle, which releases the credit card.

Inmarsat provides satellite communications to ships and offshore oil rigs, which can use the service for telex, telephone and data communications up to 1.5 Mb/s, enough for compressed video transmissions. Leased circuits are now being offered as well. Other interactive services available include videotax, navigational and weather information services.

In the next 10 years, there may be other mobile-satellite systems in addition to that operated by Inmarsat. Canada and the US are expected to proceed with a domestic mobile-satellite communications system that could be used to send or receive signals to and from aircraft, boats and land vehicles.


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