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Friday, October 23, 2015, 09:29

Inmarsat agrees to satellite deal with CTTIC

By Cecily Liu in London
Inmarsat agrees to satellite deal with CTTIC

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left ) views models of satellites with Rupert Pearce (right ), CEO of Inmarsat during a visit to Inmarsat in London on October 22, 2015. ( AFP PHOTO / POOL / Anthony Devlin)

Inmarsat Plc agreed to a strategic partnership with China Transport Telecommunication and Information Center on Thursday during President Xi Jinping's visit to the headquarters of the British satellite telecoms company.

The agreement with CTTIC means that Inmarsat's Global Xpress mobile satellite broadband service will be rolled out throughout China.

The deal between Immarsat and CTTIC will not only produce business opportunities in China but also in more than 60 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Europe that make up the Belt and Road Initiative.

Xi, who proposed the policy in 2013, toured Inmarsat's network operations center to understand how Global Xpress works. The system is effective in rural regions where it is impossible to pick up traditional mobile signals.

Xi said that China and Inmarsat have solid foundation of cooperation.

China is willing to work with other countries to increase telecommunications quality internationally, to create an information silk road, Xi said.

This will provide communications for Chinese companies and their partners working in difficult terrain, particularly during the construction of major infrastructure projects. It will also allow them to keep in contact in emergency situations.

"Our advantage is that we have a resilient means of communication, as we run the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, to help protect the safety of people," said Chris McLaughlin, senior vice-president at Inmarsat.

Part of the agreement will also allow Inmarsat and CTTIC to provide satellite broadband for airline passengers and next-generation safety systems for the commercial Chinese aviation industry.

The company's advanced technology was used to help pinpoint the southern corridor flight path taken by the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 last year. During the search for the Boeing 777, it worked closely with China's government.

Recognized as one of the leaders in the field of satellite technology, Inmarsat has a long working relationship with the country, with its systems used to safeguard security in the aviation and maritime industries.

In 2008, Inmarsat also worked with the Chinese government during the rescue operation after the Sichuan earthquake, when aid workers used the company's satellite system to keep in touch.

Apart from the deal with CTTIC, Inmarsat is helping Air China, one of the country's leading airlines, with technology to provide signals to on board passengers.

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