With a satellite scheduled for launch in March, Solaris Mobile is planning to provide mobile television and in-vehicle entertainment, information and communication services across Europe. The joint venture between Eutelsat and SES Astra has been demonstrating the service in a number of Mercedes rental cars at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, using terrestrial transmissions supported by Albertis Telecom.

The cars have two screens for passengers in the back and a screen embedded in the dashboard and are showing a selection of live channels such as Euronews and Eurosport. The transmissions are provided from terrestrial towers.

The service is also being demonstrated on handsets and portable multimedia players provided by Sagem and Archos.

Eutelsat is scheduled to launch its W2A satellite in March, including a payload operating in the S-band which is close to the frequencies used for 3G mobile phones. Using the DVB-SH hybrid satellite and terrestrial standard, Solaris Mobile will provide coverage across Europe, with additional terrestrial repeaters extending coverage in urban areas.

Solaris Mobile is one of four operators proposing to provide a pan-European multimedia mobile satellite service under a plan established by the European Commission. It is clearly hoping by demonstrating a practical proof of concept with a payload ready to launch that it should qualify for some of the 2GHz S-band spectrum on offer.

The joint venture has partnered with Alcatel-Lucent which is a proponent of the DVB-SH approach. It has also selected Nagravision to provide content and service protection. The Nagravision mobile solution supports both the OMA BCAST Smartcard Profile and Open Security Framework.