Iridium Communications Inc. announced that seven additional service providers have signed agreements to provide the Iridium Certus service for maritime applications. Globecomm, Network Innovations, Pivotel, MVS USA, IEC-Telecom, MetOcean and Samsan Enterprise Company now further broaden the base of Iridium's distribution for its next-generation L-band broadband service.
These seven companies will play a critical role in delivering what will be the fastest and most competitive L-band satellite broadband solution to the maritime industry, enabling a truly global "connected ship" environment. This announcement comes shortly after Iridium became the second-ever recognized service provider for the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS), ending a decades long industry monopoly and continuing the company's maritime vertical momentum. Iridium is now working to introduce GMDSS service as soon as possible.
Iridium Certus service providers are representative of the global nature of Iridium's network and its partner ecosystem. In an industry that has lacked variety in available communications offerings, Iridium Certus will provide a new, complete satellite communications solution that is high quality and competitively priced. Operating over Iridium's next-generation, global low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network called Iridium NEXT, Iridium Certus will be the only satellite broadband solution that can provide reliable connectivity anywhere in the world.
"The addition of this group of world class service providers is a major milestone for the Iridium Certus program," said Wouter Deknopper, vice president and general manager of maritime at Iridium. "These partnerships are a testament to the need for choice in this industry, especially one that meets the needs of every vessel, regardless of location, size and budget. Supporting the global, digital and mobile needs of mariners is at the core of our mission, and it would not be possible without our worldwide partner network and service providers."
Iridium Certus is currently undergoing live testing on state-of-the-art, small-form-factor terminals, built by Thales and Cobham. The VesseLINK by Thales and SAILOR 4300 by Cobham terminals are testing well and delivering positive results, validating network performance expectations, including achievement of 352 Kbps data speeds and high quality voice calling. Initial service offering speeds will debut at 352 Kbps and will later be upgradable to 704 Kbps with a firmware upgrade. Iridium Certus will not only support multiple speed classes and capabilities, but will also provide safety services and a range of streaming options. Once commercially available, the Iridium Certus service will play a key role for maritime communications, as it will support a variety of connectivity requirements, while also being able to withstand the harsh conditions of remote operations.
Iridium Certus is planned for commercial availability in 2018. Enabled by Iridium NEXT, the Company's next-generation, $3 billion satellite constellation, Iridium Certus will provide higher quality voice capabilities, alongside enterprise-grade broadband functionality, for the entire planet, whether on land, in the air or at sea. To date, there have been six successful Iridium NEXT launches, deploying 55 new satellites. Two additional launches are planned for 2018 to complete the constellation of 75 new satellites, of which 66 will be in the active constellation, with nine on-orbit spares.