Cruising high

Published: Thursday 15 February 1996

The race to provide the world's first global hand-held mobile phone service has been won by TRW. The US Patent and Trademarks Office has issued two patents related to the mediam earth orbit (MEO) Odyssey system that TRW is expected to launch. Satellites in the MEO would be located at an altitude of 10,000- 18,000 km from the earth (Middle East Communications, Vol 10, No 8).

TRW claims that the patents are broad enough to "pose a major concern for aspiring imitators", which could be inferred as an oblique reference to the London-based Inmarsat-P (Inter-Mobile Satellite Organisation), the only other MEO project in the pipeline.

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