Iridium is back in commercial service via the Iridium satellite network, which was re-introduced on April 1, 2001. Iridium’s sixty-six satellite network is fully operational, providing truly global service. Calls go from your phone up to the satellite, which passes the call satellite to satellite until it downlinks at the Hub station in Tempe, Arizona. From Tempe, all calls are routed via terrestrial lines to their final destination. Calls from one terminal to another go up to the satellite network and directly down to the called handset, bypassing the terrestrial phone network. Key points about the Iridium satellite phone network services at Globalcom:
- 66 satellites
- 6 orbital planes
- 11 satellites per orbital plane
- One spare per orbital plane
- Inter-satellite cross-links
- 48 spot beams per satellite
Iridium Satellite Phone Pricing
Not only is the new commercial service easy and straightforward, pricing for calls using the Iridium satellite telephone from anywhere to anywhere in the world are as low as 99 cents per minute. There is no additional roaming or long distance charges when making outbound calls. When you subscribe to the new lower plans calls from Iridium phone to Iridium phone are only 75 cents per minute. It’s $11.00 per minute to call from an Iridium phone to an Inmarsat phone.
Note: Customers who already own Iridium phone equipment need to have it reactivated to use the new service. This service is being offered by free of charge by GMPCS in which will also upgrade the phone for Iridium data service. This is expected to be available this summer.
Voice Mail and other Enhanced Services
In addition to the benefits of truly global Iridium satellite phone coverage at very competitive rates, there are several enhanced Iridium satellite phone services available through the network that make the overall package even more attractive. Small messaging and voice mail (the ability to send a small text message to the handset via the Internet) services are available now for all terminals. Toll free fixed-to-mobile calling and prepaid calling services are planned for the summer of 2001.
Iridium Phone Paging
The Global Paging Service uses the Iridium constellation of 66 satellites to enable subscribers to receive numeric and alphanumeric paging virtually anywhere on the planet, from cities to remote areas. Since the messaging signal is so robust, a clear line-of-sight to the satellite overhead is not required to receive your messages. With the follow-me paging, if a caller can’t reach you because your phone is busy or switched off, Iridium Global Page Service automatically prompts the caller to leave a voice or numeric message. Your pager notifies you that a message has arrived. Stand Alone paging is priced at $70.00 per month, and Follow-Me Paging, which is linked to an active voice terminal is $50.00 per month.
Circuit-switched Data Service at 2400 BPS is scheduled for the summer of 2001. This will provide reliable data services using a computer connected to the Iridium satellite phone handset. An Iridium phone data kit is available which provides the cable, connector, handset stand, and computer software. The computer software has been designed for simple installation and provides for straightforward data connectivity. The user can establish a data connection by clicking on the appropriate on-screen icon once installed and configured.
Iridium’s Direct Internet Service is also planned for the summer of 2001. It utilizes dedicated Internet servers located in the Iridium gateways. This service offers an enhanced performance by leveraging a high-speed server to Internet connectivity and optimized server to handset communications. Utilizing this service, the Iridium satellite phone can execute accelerated file transfers, efficiently browse the data user Internet and exchange e-mail.
Like the dial-up data software, the user can establish a data connection by clicking on the appropriate on-screen icon. Achieve enhanced effective data throughput by utilizing a combination of user transparent accelerants, including protocol optimization and data compression. The typical user will experience data rates of approximately 10Kbps nominal web browsing or text based file transfers.
Learn more about the Iridium satellite phone rental