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SoftBank to Provide High-Speed LTE Services Using Gilat’s Satellite-Based Cellular Backhaul Technology

February 16, 2016

SoftBank Corp. and Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. announced that SoftBank intends to provide high-speed LTE services using Gilat’s satellite-based cellular backhaul technology following a successful field trial. This technology makes it possible for SoftBank to cost-effectively offer high-speed mobile communication services in remote areas where it is difficult to install fixed-line facilities and base stations. SoftBank expects to offer commercial services in Japan, based on this technology, within 2016.

SoftBank has already succeeded in providing cost-efficient 3G mobile communications in Japan, where it is difficult to build facilities for fixed-line and mobile communications, by using satellite communications as backhaul. SoftBank contributed to the development of Gilat’s SkyEdge II-c high-speed satellite communications platform early on, and conducted verification work along the way. The latest trials demonstrated FTP downlink rates of up to 100Mbps using actual mobile handsets, which until now have been very difficult to achieve.

Yasuyuki Imai, SoftBank’s Executive Vice President and Head of the Technology Unit commented, “With this technology, we will be able to also offer high-speed LTE services in mountainous regions, remote islands and other areas in Japan where it is difficult to install fixed-line backhaul cost-effectively and quickly. We already have satellite-based backhaul in those regions, but now we will be able to offer our customers LTE speeds. We also expect to see the application of this technology to the mobile network of our group company Sprint in the US. Our hope is that this technology will help play a role in bridging the digital divide.”