Mobile sat service licensing under way

European Commission will choose operators in 2009

BRUSSELS -- The licensing process for Europe-wide mobile satellite services was launched Thursday as part of an effort to ensure that services like mobile TV develop smoothly.

Mobile satellite services operators will be chosen by the European Commission early next year according to how they score on different criteria, including coverage of remote regions. It obliges operators to cover at least 60% of the EU's overall land area from the time the system begins operations.

The global satellite industry is estimated at about $119 billion, growing 16% in 2007.