Manx Telecom has announced an alliance with Globalstar Europe to develop EMN, a new multiple technology system that it hopes will be ‘the world’s first communications service to switch between multiple cellular networks and a direct-to-user (DtU) mobile satellite network.’ A press release confirming the development noted that, using Globalstar’s Low-Earth Orbit satellite constellation, EMN is intended to be a ‘bring your own device’ solution that will enable users to communicate as normal with their existing devices, but with ubiquitous nationwide coverage via satellite operations. With the service utilising Manx Telecom’s Smart SIM technology, it has been claimed that when a user’s signal level begins to weaken due to the limited reach of a carrier’s coverage or disappears due to a natural or man-made disaster, connectivity will be automatically handed over to another mobile network within range. If a terrestrial network is not available, network connectivity would then be transferred onto Globalstar’s system.
One of the first services to be developed by the new alliance, and supported by specialist technical consultancy firm Intelcomm, is FRAN, which the firms involved claim will enable all first responders to continue making and receiving calls in the event that cellular networks become unavailable. Pointing to the fact that previous attempts to achieve this have included using satellites as ‘backhaul’ to deliver signals to terrestrial masts, they highlighted the fact that as EMN’s DtU approach connects users directly via satellite, this means it is not dependent on the reach and integrity of terrestrial infrastructure. Manx Telecom and Globalstar are reportedly targeting a trial service of FRAN this summer ‘involving parties from the emergency services community’.
Commenting on the matter, Jay Monroe, chairman and CEO of Globalstar, was cited as saying: ‘The EMN solution, incorporating our reliable satellite network, will help ensure that first responders can continuously communicate and help them perform their significant roles more effectively.’ Gary Lamb, CEO of Manx Telecom, added: ‘Together with our partners, we intend to show that satellite communications, combined with Manx Telecom’s flexible Strongest Signal SIM technology, can provide much-needed balance and backup to the emergency communications architecture and dramatically increase overall reliability.’