Iridium(R) Satellite reports continued strong growth for its global satellite communications services in the Asia Pacific market, with the number of maritime subscribers in the region up 15 percent and the number of land-based subscribers up 16 percent over this time last year. Year-over-year, maritime traffic in the region has grown by 22 percent and land-based traffic by 26 percent. During the same period, Iridium’s total subscriber growth worldwide was 24 percent.
“As the only mobile satellite service offering gap-free coverage over all of Earth’s surfaces, we continue to increase our presence in the Asia Pacific region,” said Greg Ewert, executive vice president, Iridium Satellite. “This burgeoning market is an ideal arena for the expansion of Iridium service due to emerging requirements within the area for voice and data communications.”
“Much of our success must be attributed to the contributions of our exceptional partners as they broaden demand for low-latency, truly global Iridium-based voice and data communications through new and innovative solutions,” Ewert added.
Highlights of Past Six Months in the Asia Pacific Region
- China Space Mobile Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (China Spacecom) announced that it is planning to open an Iridium gateway earth station. The gateway, which will be located in Beijing, will support Iridium voice and data services throughout China and could be operational by the end of 2007. China Spacecom expects significant demand for Iridium short-burst data links in water resources management, hydrological monitoring, weather data collection, fishing vessel tracking, heavy machinery automation, environmental protection and other industries, as well as voice and email communications with ships and aircraft on domestic and international routes.
- Telstra Corporation awarded an eight-year contract, valued at $3.0-$3.5 million, to Beam Communications Pty Ltd to supply Iridium-based satellite equipment as part of a new interstate communication infrastructure for the Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC). The new rail communication system for ARTC will provide a single integrated network covering more than 10,000 kilometers of rail track nationwide through Telstra’s Next G(TM) technology with satellite backup. The system will permit trains and controllers to communicate seamlessly across the entire national rail system and Telstra will integrate the Iridium circuit-switched data service into its network infrastructure, providing satellite interfaces for real-time data transmission to and from locomotives across the service area as well as backup voice channels for emergency communications.
- Cathay Pacific Airways installed Iridium terminals on seven of its Boeing 747-200 jets, using an integrated voice and data solution developed by ARINC and International Communications Group (ICG), an Iridium value-added reseller (VAR) and value-added manufacturer (VAM).
- Beam Communications Pty Ltd, an Iridium VAM, received a U.S. $3.5 million (Inc GST) order from Telstra Corporation, Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company, for Iridium-based satellite communications systems. Telstra will receive a variety of fixed-site terminals, in-vehicle satellite telephones and accessories for handheld devices for rural telephony as part of the Telstra Universal Service Obligation (USO) in Australia.
- Iridium provided mission-critical mobile satellite services for two recent “DXpeditions,” in which ham radio enthusiasts constructed temporary base stations on Agatti Island in the Arabian Sea’s Lakshadweep archipelago southwest of India and on Swain’s Island, an atoll in the Tokelau chain in the South Pacific. There, they established contact with other amateur radio operators around the world. The teams used the Iridium phones to stay in touch with home, obtain weather forecasts, and provide daily uploads of log information and updates from the island.
Earlier this year, Iridium announced “Iridium NEXT,” an initiative to launch an aggressive R&D program to define and develop a new satellite constellation. Iridium is designing an IP-based broadband network that will leverage new satellite and wireless technologies to provide powerful new devices and services for commercial and government users. The next-generation satellite constellation is expected to be fully operational by 2016. In the interim, Iridium is taking steps to enhance and improve the reliability and robustness of the existing satellite constellation.
Network Quality Guarantee
This year, Iridium also introduced a network quality guarantee program for new customers with a promise of 100 percent satisfaction with Iridium service. The “Iridium Network Quality Guarantee” promises credits of up to 100 minutes of airtime, as well as three months free subscription fees, if the Iridium network fails to complete properly initiated voice calls from customers’ new Iridium handsets. If a customer is dissatisfied with the quality of Iridium’s network service within the first 90 days of service activation, the customer may submit a claim through their participating service provider.
Frost & Sullivan Study
Finally, Frost & Sullivan, an independent research and consulting firm, released an analysis earlier this year comparing Iridium to another industry satellite phone service. The study revealed that while only 36.2 percent of a competitor’s calls were successfully connected and completed without being dropped during a three-minute period, 98.1 percent of those calls placed on the Iridium handsets were successfully connected and completed. Researchers placed more than 1,000 phone calls using a variety of Iridium and non-Iridium satellite phones. The results clearly show that the Iridium network is the best selection for critical, time-sensitive applications in disaster recovery, and for first responders and public safety officials.
About Iridium Satellite
Iridium Satellite LLC is the only provider of truly global satellite voice and data solutions with complete coverage of the earth (including oceans, airways and Polar Regions). Iridium delivers essential communications services to and from remote areas where no other form of communication is available. The Iridium constellation consists of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites and has multiple in-orbit spares. The constellation operates as a fully meshed network and is the largest commercial satellite constellation in the world. The Iridium service is ideally suited for industries such as maritime, aviation, government/military, emergency/humanitarian services, mining, forestry, oil and gas, heavy equipment, transportation and utilities. Iridium provides service to the U.S. Department of Defense. The company also designs, builds and sells its services, products and solutions through a worldwide network of more than 150 partners.