ICO Global Communications - backgrounder

Established as a private company in 1995, ICO Global Communications had a brief to provide global mobile personal communications services by satellite, including digital voice, data, facsimile and messaging services. ICO Global has some 60 strategic investors, comprising telecommunications and technology companies from 49 countries.

More than half the strategic investors are from developing markets. They have committed equity contributions in excess of $2 billion, raised through private placement. Following an initial public offering of shares in July 1998, the company was registered on the Nasdaq. Total funding is currently about $3 billion.

The ICO group comprises the holding company, the Cayman Islands-registered ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Ltd, and 17 wholly-owned direct and indirect subsidiaries set up in the UK, Bermuda, Singapore, the Netherlands and the US with the intent of conducting the group's business worldwide. Headquartered in London, the group has regional offices in Beijing, Beirut, Dubai, Istanbul, Pretoria, Miami, Moscow, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Singapore, and Washington DC.

ICO Global's 14-member board (elected annually from amongst the investors) is at present headed by executive chairman Klaus Hummel. The other directors are Richard Greco, Panos Tsoupides, Amitabh Kumar, Kyo Watanabe, Byung-Sup Yun, Carlos Mier Y Teran, Moulay Omar Cherkaoui, Seng Sum Ng, Ali Mohammed Rashed Al Sharid, Hugh Coble, John P Stenbit and Daryll Smith.

ICO Global foresees a potential customer base of:

  • cellular users who want service in areas that are covered by incompatible systems or not covered at all by terrestrial means
  • mobile communications users located in areas with no form of terrestrial coverage
  • aeronautical, maritime and long-distance land transport operators, and
  • people living in rural and remote areas lacking adequate telecommunications infrastructure.

ICO Global intends to set up a distribution chain of national wholesalers (service partners) and retailers. The latter will include cellular operators, value-added resellers, application developers and system integrators.