China's BeiDou system is GLONASS ally, not competitor - Russian expert

The beginning of the commercial operation and active development of China's BeiDou navigation system poses no threat to Russia's GLONASS, technical director of M2M Telematics holding group Alexei Kutsenko has said.

 "No, the development of the Chinese satellite constellation poses no threat to Russia. The world now is moving to multisystem navigation equipment both on the market of professional equipment and on the consumer market," he said.

He said that the consumer does not care how many navigation systems his navigation device supports. The main thing for him or her is reliable positioning. "The more systems equipment is going to support wherever it is produced - in China, Russia or Europe - the more all interested participants will gain," he said.

Kutsenko said that navigation receivers will soon appear on the world market that will support all navigation systems. "The same happened when all manufacturers switched from single-system GPS receivers to GLONASS/GPS receivers.

"Now all modern communicators support GLONASS," he said.

Speaking of BeiDou's prospects he said that the system should become operational on a global scale by 2020. "But considering the economic capabilities and political ambitions of our neighbor in the East it is possible that global coverage will be reached ahead of the set deadline," he said.

The BeiDou fleet consists of 16 satellites.

The Europe Space Agency is developing its own navigation system, Galileo that has four satellites in orbit. "I believe that Galileo will be developing very consistently and carefully in the nearest future," Kutsenko said.

"Official global coverage employing Galileo is expected in 2018 and the first services in 2014. However, knowing the economic problems of united Europe and certain political discord, there is a small probability that the said timeframe will not be observed," he said.

M2M Telematics is Russia's largest holding group comprising developers, manufacturers, system integrators and turn-key solution vendors in the market of vehicle telematics and satellite navigation based on GLONASS and GPS technologies.

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