TerreStar-1 Completes First Call

With the first satellite call ever made between integrated satellite-terrestrial smartphones, TerreStar completes an FCC licensing milestone for the world's largest, most-advanced commercial communications satellite.

Almost three weeks after launching the world's largest commercial satellite to deliver 3G voice, data and video communications, TerreStar said July 20 it had completed the first successful end-to-end phone call over TerreStar-1. The call was completed between two of TerreStar's quad-band GSM and tri-band WCDMA/HSPA smartphones with integrated satellite-terrestrial voice and data capabilities.

"This call shows how TerreStar is delivering a new standard in mobile broadband network services and devices that leverage our integrated satellite and terrestrial communications components to enable true ubiquity and reliability-anywhere in the United States and Canada," Jeffrey Epstein, president of TerreStar, said in a statement.

The call completes the final FCC (Federal Communications Commission) certification for satellite-based calls. TerreStar Networks has also notified Industry Canada of its compliance with its final milestone.

"We have now certified that our network is operational and that TerreStar-1, our handset and our core network are all performing well," said TerreStar CTO Dennis Matheson. "While the call was completed quickly, it represents years of hard work and innovation."

The $300 million, 15,000-pound TerriStar-1 is equipped with an 59-foot deployable reflector and employs an S-Band feed array capable of 500 beams covering all of the United States and Canada, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Orbiting 22,000 miles above North America, TerreStar plans to offer mobile services through a network of partners and service providers. TerreStar has already negotiated a roaming agreement with AT&T.

TerreStar also plans to offer new and existing commercial chipset technologies to provide satellite communication capabilities via small, handheld devices. The first device planned is a Windows mobile satellite phone capable of receiving 3G speeds on AT&T networks and the TerreStar network. Using licensed 2GHz spectrum, TerreStar and AT&T plan to initially target government, emergency responders rural communities and commercial users. TerreStar says its first service should roll out by the end of the year.