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5 Lab and SoftBank Corp. to Begin Jointly Studying Marine Broadband Services that Use Next-generation Communication Satellites

 November 28, 2019

e5 Lab Inc. (“e5 Lab”), a company that develops and aims to increase the adoption of zero-emission, fully electric vessels, and SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”)  announced they signed a memorandum of understanding to start jointly studying the provision of marine broadband services that utilize next-generation communication satellites. Under this agreement, both companies aim to improve connectivity environments aboard marine vessels, an issue for the maritime shipping industry.

To realize marine broadband services, both companies plan to conduct trials as follows.

Trials that use communication satellites (planned for January 2020 to end of May 2020)

Vessels nominated by e5 Lab will be equipped with flat antennas and local wireless stations. Communication tests that use communication satellites for backhaul will be performed.

Trials that use next-generation communication satellites (planned for January 2021 to end of March 2022)

SoftBank and UK-based OneWeb Ltd. (“OneWeb”), which concluded a business partnership agreement in July 2019, will conduct communication tests that utilize Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite services and flat antennas. In these trials, IoT devices on marine vessels will be utilized and communication tests will be performed with a view to remote operations from land to sea.

Based on the trial results, both companies will jointly study ways to commercialize and promote marine broadband services that utilize next-generation satellite communications and contribute to the sustainable development of Japan's maritime shipping industry.



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