In February of 2013 Globalstar launched the last six satellites completing Globlastar’s second generation constellation of 32 satellites. The original constellation of 48 satellites had failures with the duplex transmitters which provide two way voice and data service. With the lower number of satellites Globalstar increased the distance of the orbit from the earth providing a wider spot beam giving the same coverage as the original constellation.
The final satellite was placed in service in August of 2013 filling all the gaps of service Globalstar has experienced since December of 2007 when the duplex transmitters began to fail.
Even with the new constellation of satellites fully deployed Globalstar has faced additional challenges with its original ground station network. Adjustments had to be made to line up the satellites with each ground station, this has taken sometime, but most of the adjustments have been made as of the date of this article. The Globalstar gateway in Alberta was flooded in the summer of 2013 causing outages in service in western Canada and the western United States. Other gateways had to be lined up to fill in the outage. The Alberta gateway is now back up and running. The Puerto Rican gateway also had antenna issues in July of 2013 which is projected to be repaired at the end of September of 2013. As the service improved and the level of network usage increased some gateways had to be upgraded to handle the increase in network usage.
With most of these challenges behind, Globalstar service quality has increased to the level most customers expect.
Globalstar’s next goal is to incorporate the gateway in Venezuela and all the gateways in Mexico into the home calling area. This will allow customer that were formally roaming in these area to enjoy much lower airtime rates. Currently the home calling rates are as low as 25 cents per minute.
Globalstar also plans to upgrade their entire ground station network to utilize the full capabilities of the second generation satellite constellation. The new ground station network using the new constellation will provide customers with data speeds up to 256K. Globalstar currently has the fastest data speeds at 9.6K, but with the upgrades Globalstar will pass all other handheld satellite phone providers giving customers ultra-fast Internet access never seen in the Industry before.
Globalstar has risen from the ashes and the future looks bright for customers that need voice and data outside of cellular and landline service.