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Iridium Satellite To Launch New-Generation Data Modem

Bethesda MD (SPX) Mar 23, 2005
Iridium Satellite announced last Tuesday that it will introduce a new, cost-effective 9600 data transceiver this year based on the company's Short Burst Data (SBD) technology.

This move will extend the unique capabilities of Iridium to a new set of markets, expanding service in asset tracking, remote monitoring and telemetry reporting.

The 9600 transceiver will offer a superior price-performance capability over existing satellite-based options. Iridium's SBD Service, which the 9600 will enable, is an efficient packet-based technology.

It is optimized for the frequent data transmissions that asset tracking and remote monitoring applications typically require.

"The 9600 transceiver will permit Iridium's solution partners to offer the only complete capability with the following features - global coverage, uniform low-latency, two-way communications, and low hardware cost," said Don Thoma, executive vice president, Iridium Satellite.

"Iridium will be working closely with OEM manufacturers to integrate the 9600 as part of a range of complete wireless data applications."

Iridium envisions widespread adoption of the 9600 transceiver for enterprise-scale solutions which require immediate and comprehensive access to critical data from the field.

Examples include supply chain management, field force automation, and even maintenance repair and overhaul systems.

"For the first time, the large-scale systems which form the backbone of any global enterprise will have immediate and unfettered access to data from remote assets deployed around the world," Thoma noted.

"For example, using solutions built with our technology, a global firm will be able to receive real-time visibility into its supply chain, optimizing delivery and reducing time to market."

Iridium anticipates production deliveries of the 9600 to begin in late 2005.

Iridium value-added manufacturers and resellers are beginning plans to integrate the transceiver into a wide range of satellite data communications products for specific vertical market applications.

"Iridium saw dramatic growth in data traffic during the past 12 months with an increase of 49% over 2003," Thoma said.

"We expect the 9600 to continue to accelerate market adoption - particularly in industries such as heavy equipment, over-the-road transportation, oil and gas, maritime, rail, utilities and government applications."

Iridium Planning Group Call Push-To-Talk Communications Service Bethesda MD (SPX) Mar 23, 2005 Iridium Satellite also announced last Tuesday plans to deploy a group call push-to-talk voice and data service. This service will allow for deployment of multi-user communication "nets" from Iridium mobile satphones from anywhere worldwide.

It is designed for public and private sector first responders and ideal for crisis applications where rapid deployment, reliability and security are key. Users will require constant and global service from an extremely portable device.

"The Iridium group call push-to-talk communications service will be able to link three, four, a dozen or even hundreds of users together into an effective network," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president, Iridium Satellite.

"This Iridium service will offer the virtual equivalent of repeater stations in space. The need to position a repeater station on a mountaintop or a tall - and vulnerable - structure will no longer exist."

Multiple Users; Multiple Applications

The group call push-to-talk communications service will allow one user to talk (or transmit data) to many users simultaneously. Dispatch centers will be able to set up multi-user communication nets on Iridium satellite channels.

The service will be scalable to meet user requirements. It will enable over- the-air group management where dispatch centers can add users to groups as needed.

In addition, users will be able to access voice and data communications at the same time when immediate access to critical systems and information from any location is required.

That is because this service will work alongside existing Iridium services such as short-burst data (SBD) for real-time alerts for monitoring of important assets such as field equipment.

It also will provide instantaneous alerts in times of crisis, feeding critical data to users.

The new Iridium service will incorporate end-to-end encryption for secure communications. Built-in safeguards will ensure that only defined users can receive, participate in or terminate broadcasts or nets.

It also will allow for integrating and relaying terrestrial radios and tying into terrestrial trunked radio systems. Multiple call types will be possible, including private mode, one-way broadcast mode and priority interrupt.

Iridium users desiring this service will be able to upgrade their Iridium 9505 and 9505A satphones with new broadcast/group call software and a small push-to-talk ancillary device. When not operating in a group call mode, the handsets will function normally in the traditional phone-to-phone mode.

Public and Private Sector Needs

Iridium expects to achieve initial deployment for U.S. Department of Defense users by the fourth quarter 2005.

Iridium will launch to homeland security and commercial customers in 2006, focusing on public safety, border patrol, customs, forestry, oil and gas, fishing and mining applications.

Iridium anticipates needs in the area of command and control, logistics, support, position reporting, observation and other critical information relay beyond line-of-sight.

The Power of the Iridium Network

"This service will eliminate the complexities of identifying available spectrum to support new radio networks," Ewert said.

"Iridium's constellation of 66 low-earth-orbit satellites provides global pole-to-pole coverage. It permits users to establish broadcast or net communications anywhere in the world with very low latency. It leverages the strengths of the Iridium constellation and existing Iridium satphones.

"It will allow Iridium to provide an unmatched and cost-effective solution to demanding broadcast group call requirements from anywhere in the world."

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