A new satellite that will enable television to be delivered to mobile receivers across Europe has been successfully launched from Kazakhstan. The W2A satellite carries an S-band payload for Solaris Mobile, a joint venture between Eutelsat and SES Astra, which will provide mobile video, navigation and emergency assistance services.

Weighing nearly 6 tonnes, the Eutelsat satellite built by Thales Alenia Space was launched by a Russian Proton Breeze M rocket, marking the 50th launch for International Launch Services. It carried three payloads, including an S-band transponder with a 12 metre antenna that will allow providers to deliver a range of mobile television, radio and other data services to handheld devices and in-vehicle systems.

Eutelsat chairman and chief executive Giuliano Berretta said it “ushers in a new era in satellite-based mobile video and interactive communications,” referring to the S-band payload which hopes to make use of frequencies the European Commission plans to make available for mobile satellite services.

“The success of today’s launch means Solaris Mobile is now poised to deliver a new generation of mobile services for European consumers,” said Steve Maine, the chief executive of Solaris Mobile. “With the satellite in orbit, our work begins in earnest.”

“Since Solaris Mobile is the first company to offer a hybrid satellite and terrestrial infrastructure for European mobile services, we are determined to set the standards for mobile communication services, in terms of innovation, quality and service that will set the tone for the rest of the industry.”

Solaris Mobile intends to operate in a 2.00 GHz frequency band, the S-band, reserved for the exclusive use of satellite and terrestrial mobile services. This sits alongside the frequencies already used across Europe for 3G mobile services.