Iridium launches global data, Internet services
Posted: June 7, 2001

Illustration of Iridium constellation. Photo: Iridium
Iridium Satellite LLC announced Wednesday the commercial availability of its mobile satellite data services, including dial-up connectivity and direct-Internet connections. Following the successful launch of voice services in March, the availability of data services solidifies Iridium's unique position as the only provider of truly global, truly mobile communications solutions.

"For many of our target customers, the data capability has been the missing link in their remote communications plans. The ability to send and receive e-mails, data files and to conduct basic Web services, will prove invaluable for users in the field. For the first time, users will be able to access the Internet and World Wide Web from any part of the globe, thanks to Iridium's only truly global network," said Gino Picasso, CEO of Iridium. "We are committed to enhancing the value of our network for Iridium customers and data and Internet services are one more example of this effort."

Iridium's easy-to-use data services offer an important communications tool for government and military users and for vertical markets such as maritime, aviation, oil and gas, mining, construction, forestry, non-governmental organization/relief and yachting/leisure.

To fulfill industrial market requirements, Iridium's dial-up data capability provides connectivity to corporate data users at 2.4 Kbps, while Iridium's direct-Internet data services provide an optimized connection to the Internet at 10 Kbps, independent of the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN).

"Iridium is absolutely dedicated to continued system enhancements bringing innovative services to these vertical markets," said Mark Adams, Iridium's chief technology officer. "Our data services, providing reliable Internet connectivity where no data and Internet alternatives existed, terrestrial or otherwise, is the first of several innovations. For example, the direct Internet service offers a Smart Connect (TM) feature that allows the user to maintain an always-on mode, without incurring continuous airtime charges."

Specific functionality includes:

  • Speed of up to 10 Kbps;
  • Ability to move ISP point-of-presence to Iridium gateway;
  • "Walk-away" feature that will complete data transfers and disconnect after an operation has been performed; and
  • Reconnect "intelligence" after unplanned interruption allowing for continuation of transfer at last completed point.

Iridium's service provider network, which offers worldwide distribution of Iridium's data and voice services, currently sell data-ready Motorola handsetsalong with data kit adapters for use with laptops and other computers. In addition to anywhere, anytime access, Iridium's data services enable customers to avoid costly ISP expenses. Costs for Iridium's data services are included with voice telephony at charges that will retail for no more than $1.50 per minute.

Iridium Satellite LLC is the only provider of truly global mobile satellite voice and data solutions with complete coverage of the Earth (including oceans, airways and Polar Regions). Through a constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites operated by The Boeing Company, Iridium delivers essential communications services to and from remote areas where no other form of communication is available. The service is ideally suited for industrial applications such as heavy construction, defense/military, emergency services, maritime, mining, forestry, oil & gas and aviation. Iridium currently provides service to the U.S. Department of Defense under a multi-year contract. Commercial service, sold through a network of 15 service providers, was launched on March 30, 2001.