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ACeS (Asia Cellular Satellite) is a regional satellite telecommunications company based in Jakarta, Indonesia. It offers GSM-like satellite telephony services to Asian market. The coverage area includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China and India. The company operates the Garuda 1 satellite, launched on February 12, 2000. A second satellite (Garuda 2) was planned but never materialized. ACeS was formed by a joint venture of PT. Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunication (LMGT), Jasmine International Overseas Ltd of Thailand and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). ACeS services are marketed by National Service Providers (NSPs) in six countries; PT. Pasifik Satelit Nusantara in Indonesia, ACeS Regional Services in Thailand, Smart ACeS in the Philippines, TMTouch/Celcom in Malaysia, AVCO in Nepal and Mobitel in Sri Lanka.
The satellite and most network operations are controlled by ACeS Network Control Center in Batam Island, Indonesia. The NSPs operate ground stations which provide links to the terrestrial telephone networks.
ACeS has been assigned the virtual country code +88220, an international networks code rather than a GMSS code as the system does not operate globally. The company currently supplies only one handset type, the Ericsson R190, which derived many components from GH688 model. R190 is a dual-mode Satellite/GSM phone which automatically switches to satellite mode when terrestrial GSM network is not available. It accepts standard GSM SIM cards, and since ACeS has international roaming agreements with many GSM networks worldwide, the phone can be used in virtually any country. The handset supports most standard services such as call forward and call waiting but does not support short message service (SMS) in satellite mode. The demise of Ericsson mobile phone business in 2001 has left ACeS with no other handset available to offer to its customers. As Ericsson left the mobile phone business, production of the R190 was then continued by ACeS and rebranded to be the ACeS R190. Additionally ACeS has developed a land phone version, the ACeS FR-190, that allowed many villages and rural areas throughout Asia access to basic telephony services.
At its conception, ACeS network was designed to serve up to 2 million subscribers. It aimed for markets unserved by regular terrestrial cellular networks, such as rural areas, forestry, mining and marine industries. However, sales grew slowly and after five years of operation ACeS had fewer than 20,000 subscribers. The company failed to attract more customers, with its huge debt and its only satellite nearing its end of life, ACeS is considered by many as a commercial failure. In 2006 ACeS entered into a collaboration agreement with Inmarsat. As of 2011, the company has ceased its operation in Indonesia, with most of its remaining assets fell into Inmarsat's hand.
Garuda 1 satellite
The Garuda 1 satellite was launched on February 12, 2000. The launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, was conducted by International Launch Services, using a Proton rocket with a Block 1 DM upper stage.