Stratos Global Corporation has appointed 40 dealers throughout Australia to drive the relaunch of the Iridium mobile network satellite service after purchasing the operation for $US25 ($A48) million from its previously bankrupted owners.
The remote area communications specialist is targeting the service at defined verticals such as mining, gas and oil and the maritime sector.
"We are not looking at wide spread horizontal adoption in competition to cell phones," said Michael Smith, vice president for Stratos Global Asia Pacific.
The viability of the revamped business is it recognises its place in the niche verticals as opposed to mass market consumers, he said. It was the failure of this distinction that sent Iridium's former owners Iridium World Communications, primarily backed by Motorola, into bankruptcy 18 months ago after investing $US6 billion ($A12) to $US8 ($A15) billion in the project.
Smith said the service is ideal for the Asia Pacific market due to the high volume of fishing and shipping activity in the region and the large areas of land mass which do not have GSM cellular coverage or terrestrial telecommunications services. Dealers have been selected for their expertise in these sectors as well as their ability to provide local hands-on service and support to customers, said Smith.
With calls costing $US1.50 ($A3) per minute from and to anywhere in the world, Smith said demand and volume will remain fairly low by comparison to GSM mobile networks. However, the cost is fairly competitive with some global roaming rates.