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Hughes Unit Asks to Build a Satellite-Based System

May 02, 1985|RALPH VARTABEDIAN | Times Staff Writer

A Hughes Aircraft Co. subsidiary said Wednesday that it has sought authorization from the Federal Communications Commission to build and operate a satellite-based mobile communications system.

The Hughes system, providing voice, data and paging services to mobile users, will require an investment of roughly $300 million to set up and could generate annual revenue of about $100 million, according to John E. Koehler, a Hughes executive.

Hughes was one of 12 companies that filed applications Monday to build a satellite-based system, which will use a radio frequency that the FCC has reserved for the purpose. The system would contain a number of technical advances to enable direct radio links from a mobile unit to a satellite.

The Hughes system would compete with cellular mobile telephone systems, which communicate via land-based stations. The satellite-based system, which may include Canada, will provide nationwide coverage to units in automobiles, airplanes and trains, Hughes said.

The Hughes application was filed by Hughes Communications, a subsidiary that sells communication services from several Hughes-built satellites.

Koehler, executive vice president at Hughes Communications, said Hughes plans to build the system through a partnership of up to 20 communications firms. Hughes' primary role would be to set up and operate the system, he said.

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