Mobile phone carrier SoftBank Corp. said Friday it and 11 other companies will launch an alliance to create airborne telecommunication base stations for worldwide connectivity.
The 11 companies are Loon LLC which is a unit of Google LLC parent Alphabet Inc., AeroVironment Inc., Airbus Defence and Space, Bharti Airtel Ltd., China Telecom Corp., Deutsche Telekom AG, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Intelsat US LLC, and Nokia Corp., Telefonica S.A. and SoftBank's unit HAPSMobile Inc.
The alliance will build on a tie-up between HAPSMobile and Loon announced last April to advance so-called high altitude platform station, or HAPS, business and launch a commercial service using unmanned aircraft flying in the stratosphere in 2023.
Such a connectivity platform is a "promising solution for expanding mobile coverage to areas where connectivity is lacking -- such as mountainous terrain, remote islands, marine regions and developing countries," SoftBank said in a statement.
The system is also expected to support growing demand to connect various devices and sensors using internet of things technology in sectors such as manufacturing and farming.
The members of the alliance, coming from Asia, Europe and the United States, will cooperate on promoting and building industry-wide standards and interoperability guidelines, while liaising with regulatory authorities in relevant countries.
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