Original: English only Iridium Satellite LLC Please find attached a document updating the progress of Iridium and its current status.
While the rise and subsequent demise of the original Iridium business has been well documented, little mention has been made of the subsequent re-emergence of Iridium that has taken place over the past 14 months. This brief paper elaborates on where Iridium is today and where it is going.
The Re-Emergence of Iridium Satellite LLC.
In December, 2000, the assets of the Iridium LLC were purchased by a privately held consortium and consolidated in a single entity, Iridium Satellite LLC, with its corporate headquarters based in metropolitan Washington, DC. In addition to the constellation of 66 operational and 6 on-orbit spares, other operation and system management assets were purchased. Also included were nine completed, integrated and tested satellites, the first five of which were successfully launched and put into the on-orbit reserve pool on February 11, 2002. Two additional satellites each will be launched in the second and third quarter of 2002, respectively.
While the business structure has changed, none of Iridium’s satellite system technical aspects have changed. The satellite system, infrastructure and terminal units all conform to the regulatory requirements under which they were originally licensed. Therefore, the transfer of all licenses from Iridium LLC and its former franchise holders and others worldwide should be a routine process.
It must be noted that the Iridium system has been fully operational and service has not been interrupted since its inauguration in late 1997. Iridium Service Offerings:
While the nature of the business structure has changed, the service offerings have not. The primary services are:
Basic telephony using individual handsets and fixed unit terminals, including phone boxes and multi-line devices. Additional features include SMS messaging, call forwarding, and voice mail, and a personal mailbox that receives and stores numeric, text, and voice mail messages.
Direct Internet Data Service, providing direct connectivity from a PC to the Internet through dedicated servers at the Iridium gateway.
Dial-Up Data Service provides dial-up connectivity from a PC to another computer, corporate network/LAN or an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Iridium in the Regulatory and Licensing Environment
From a licensing perspective, the new business structure is conductive to regulators issuing two licenses, one to Iridium Satellite for spectrum usage, the other in the form of a concession license to a local service provider or dealer.
In issuing two separate licenses, Regulators can assure users in their country that they will be able to operate their equipment regardless of the status of a particular service provider. By offering concession licenses to more than one service provider or dealer, Regulators open the door to additional markets for the use of this technology. All parties benefit: the end user, who can interact with a service provider especially attuned to their particular need; the service provider, who can concentrate his efforts in his particular market niche; the system operator, who no longer has to worry about the legitimacy of the end-user’s ability to operate in a particular country; and the Regulator, who by offering multiple concession licenses allows for increased competition in the marketplace, thereby generating more revenue.
Recognizing the importance of membership and participation in national, regional and world forums, Iridium Satellite LLC is a Recognized Operating Agency (ROA) in the ITU Development Sector. Iridium Satellite’s wholly-owned Italian subsidiary, Iridium Italia S.r.l. has applied for membership in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Iridium Satellite and/or its affiliates are in the process of joining and participating in other regulatory and user forums.
Iridium Satellite LLC has signed the GMPCS MoU and has actively participated in the GMPCS-MoU Group and its programs. Handset manufacturers and existing service providers continue as signatories to the MoU while new service providers and handset manufacturers have been encouraged to sign the MoU and participate in the activities of the Group.
Iridium Satellite, along with other system operators, has found the GMPCS licensing workshops organized and facilitated by the ITU-D (BDT) to be an extremely effective tool. The workshops provided regulators, policy makers and industry to discuss issues of mutual concern and find solutions to facilitate introduction of GMPCS services in their respective countries. The opportunity afforded by these workshops to have one-one meetings with regulators and policy makers has been especially beneficial.
To that end, Iridium Satellite commends the BDT for its enthusiastic support of the GMPCS community through its outreach programs of regional workshops and looks forward to its continued participation.
The Future of Iridium
The re-commencing of Iridium service in April 2002 has been enthusiastically received worldwide. The business structure has been changed in such a way that Iridium services are provided by separate, independent service providers and resellers, and not directly from Iridium. As the Iridium customer base continues to grow, additional applications and service offerings are being contemplated and developed.
The re-emergence of the Iridium satellite service as a healthy and viable business is continued evidence of the continued and on-going call for GMPCS services worldwide.
As both Iridium Satellite LLC and the GMPCS industry continue to grow, we encourage a continued open dialog with regulators to explore ways and means to facilitate the continuity service and licensing of GMPCS systems.