New approval clears the way for CIMC to install ORBCOMM’s products and satellite services tracking containers on containers for new belt and road rail services from China.
ORBCOMM has announced the availability of its satellite services and solutions in China, targeted for the heavy equipment, transportation & logistics and maritime industries. “One of the premier Chinese telecommunications operators recently received the authorization for the use of ORBCOMM’s satellite constellation. ORBCOMM’s local service partner for China, Asia Pacific Navigation Telecommunications Satellite (APNTS), based in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, will participate in providing service, support and distribution,” ORBCOMM said.
This is an important step, partly because in 2015 ORBCOMM announced it had been selected by CIMC to provide satellite service and modem technology for its OEM container telematics platform.This is a dual-mode (satellite and cellular) product that can be installed as a factory option. One market for the telematics platform is the growing number of rail services under the Belt and Road initiative, many of which travel through remote areas with no cellular coverage. In particular satellite coverage provides an option for monitoring reefer containers on these long rail routes.
As far as is known, ORBCOMM is the only satellite provider that has what ORBCOMM CEO Marc Eisenberg has referred to as “landing rights” for this type of service in China. The timing of the announcement, which effectively provides access to a US technology company into the Chinese market, and could see Chinese cargo tracked using a satellite service owned by a US company, is also interesting. As well as the wider debate between the countries on trade and tariffs, the ownership of communications technologies is under a lot of scrutiny at the moment as Huawei looks to push into new markets in areas the US regards as sensitive, in particular 5G networks.
China, on the other hand, seems prepared to allow ORBCOMM to enter its market in a significant way. “A China Gateway Earth Station (GES) is planned for construction to serve as a network link between the ORBCOMM satellite system and its worldwide infrastructure. It will enable ORBCOMM to more effectively deliver the advanced services provided by its satellite constellation, making communications more efficient, reliable and globally available for its industrial IoT customers. Additional ORBCOMM GES facilities in China are in the planning stages,” ORBCOMM explained.
“ORBCOMM is pleased to be able to operate within China, which provides a unique competitive advantage to the Company, and deliver the benefits of our robust satellite service to a much broader customer base,” said Eisenberg. “The regulatory approval combined with the addition of an ORBCOMM GES in China will significantly improve service levels and coverage in the region as well as provide access to a new high-growth market for deployment of ORBCOMM’s industrial IoT solutions.”
“We have been following ORBCOMM’s continued momentum with great excitement for some time and are pleased to help bring ORBCOMM’s products and services to China,” said Zhang Hai Ming, Managing Director of APNTS. “Leveraging our understanding of the local customer base and China’s wide-ranging push towards a more connected society, we believe there is a significant opportunity to market ORBCOMM’s broad IoT solutions portfolio to the heavy equipment, transportation & logistics and maritime industries, which will enable customers throughout the region to improve the efficiency and performance of their business operations.”