Paris: Mobile satcom operator, Iridium, is gunning for Inmarsat's new SwiftBroadband 432kbit/sec data service, and plans to launch a competing service in the next 18 months.
Iridium executive vice president, Greg Ewert, said here yesterday that his company would roll out a 56-150kbit/sec service for the maritime market early next year, and follow up with similar land-mobile and aeronautical packages in the second half of 2008. "We're going after SwiftBroadband," he said.
Iridium's confidence arises from its growing penetration of the aviation market, where it says, the total number of subscribers grew 60 per cent in the past year, as compared to an average of 24 per cent growth over all the sectors it serves.
"Commercial carriers are moving to Iridium for cost-effective automatic flight-following as well as voice and data communications," said Ewert. "And we are now developing the ability to support total pipeline transparency for air cargo shipments."
With new services, the company is responding to growing demand from shippers for real-time information on the location and status of their consignments. In order to meet such demand, Iridium has developed two new products - the compact data-only SBD-9601 terminal and the voice-plus-data LBT-9522.
Some of the leading airframe manufacturers are now offering Iridium equipment in standard factory-installed avionics packages. Gulfstream Aerospace will install Iridium's dual-channel voice, fax and data communications terminals as standard equipment on its new G150 business jet, and so will Bombardier on its Challenger 605s. Eclipse Aviation is offering Iridium as a standard option on the Eclipse 500 very light jet.