Iridium Satellite kicked off the commercial launch of its global satellite communications services at a press conference on March 28. The Iridium gateway is fully operational, enabling the delivery of truly mobile, truly global voice telephony services. The company will launch data services, including dial-up access and direct Internet connectivity, in June 2001, followed by short burst messaging services, which are expected to be available later in the year. Users can benefit from reliable mobile telephony to and from remote areas of the globe where terrestrial systems are not available.
With complete coverage of the Earth's oceans, airspace and Polar Regions, Iridium is specifically geared for maritime, aviation, oil & gas, mining, construction, forestry, non-governmental organization/relief, and yachting
/leisure segments, as well as government customers - including the U.S. Department of Defense, who is an existing Iridium customer. Estimated retail costs for the Satellite Series 9500 are less than $1,000 and airtime rates are expected not to exceed more than $1.50 per minute, with no additional long-distance, roaming, or zoning charges.