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COMPANY PROFILE: IDB Mobile changes to compete

Competition in the satellite communications service provider business has grown exponentially in the past year and a half — specifically, Inmarsat satellite services have become much more price competitive, and users are becoming more sophisticated in how they choose and use satcom services. In the meantime, companies such as IDB Mobile (IDBM) have been closely monitoring market demand and altering their broad range of products and services to meet customers' needs.

The near-term market for all satellite communications providers poses many challenges, but promises rich rewards for those companies positioned correctly. It is apparent that technology and price will drive the increasing use of satellite communications, as users find new reasons to transmit and receive data.

Positioned as a leading supplier of Inmarsat-based mobile services, IDBM links satellites to r e m o t e l a n d / s e a bases, airplanes, mobile units and marine vessels, providing some of the most advanced telecommunications services available.

The company's primary target is the oceangoing vessel market, and its service additions and improvements have all been geared towards gaining a lead in this market, while expanding presence in the land mobile market.

A significant step in achieving this goal was the introduction of its "One World, One Price," simplified pricing program, which according to company officials was market driven and greeted with anticipation and praise. "Customers have embraced the program, even more so than we expected," said Rich Carlson, vice president, marketing. Another sign of IDBM's commitment to the market was the recent expansion of its operator and customer service center, which included adding operators and enhancing training. IDBM responded to the need for reliable, clear and concise service by creating an operator and customer service center that is staffed around the clock.

To provide additional value, IDB Mobile has expanded its customdesigned, help-desk software to include a database of satellite terminal manufacturers providing manuals, customer equipment lists and billing history as well as other vital information designed to speed the delivery of help. This allows IDBM customer service representatives to attend to customers even when their problems may not be directly associated with IDBM's service.

Fitting the budget To provide its customers with responsive Inmarsat services, IDBM introduced what it terms a simplified pricing and billing procedure. Entitled "One World, One Price," IDBM now offers one price for voice, fax and data traffic that includes landline charges to any destination in the world for Inmarsat A, B and M mobile satellite services.

"The best surprise is no surprise, especially when it comes to making Inmarsat calls and getting the bill," said Jerry Shipley, senior vice president, sales and marketing. IDBM said the program is a result of listening to its customers. "Customers get sticker shock every month when the communications bill comes in and there are excessive landline charges. This makes trying to plan for, and control costs impossible," said Mr.

Carlson. "Eliminating hidden or extra costs allows for much better budgetary planning and control." For more information on IDB Mobile Circle 24 on Reader Service Card

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