Mobile Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) of Japan has launched plans to design and build MBSAT, a satellite that will deliver digital multimedia information services such as CD-quality audio, MPEG-4 video and data to mobile users throughout Japan. On-orbit delivery of the spacecraft is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2003, with service expected to begin in early 2004.
The MBC services are the first in the world to deliver not only high-quality music but also video and data to mobile users through various kinds of mobile receiver terminals, including those in cars, ships, trains, handheld terminals, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular phones and home portables. A very small antenna will be sufficient to receive MBC broadcasting signals, even inside office buildings and in vehicles moving at high speed.
MBC will supplement their satellite service with terrestrial signal repeaters. The system will be built by Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of Loral Space and Communications. The system will be able to broadcast more than 50 programs simultaneously.
Mobile Broadcasting Corporation was established to provide cars and mobile terminals with digital satellite broadcasting for audio, video and data services throughout Japan. MBC’s new broadcasting system was authorised by the Japanese Government and registered with the ITU. Already the system capabilities and high performance quality have been successfully verified in dense urban locations by various field demonstrations in the Shinbashi and Ginza area of Tokyo. Dedicated first-generation receiver LSI chips have been evaluated through extensive tests. The second-generation receivers with high density LSI technology will be available by mid-2002.
MBC’s major shareholders are Toshiba, Toyota, Fujitsu, Nippon TV and Panasonic. So far 42 Japanese companies are MBC partners. New Japanese investors will be announced soon. Also, several foreign companies own significant interests in the MBC business venture, while several others are currently considering investment.