Iridium Gets Another Break

from the throwing-good-money-after-bad dept

Iridium has gotten yet another break from its creditors. Do they really think that giving them an extra month and a half is going to turn around this complete disaster? At what point do they pull the plug?

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Comments on “Iridium Gets Another Break”

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Burt (profile) says:


The problem is that throwing Iridium into bankruptcy has nasty consequences for everyone – the banks sourcing the loan, Motorola which sort of guaranteed some parts of the loans and last and certainly least Iridium itself, which would have yet another burden to deal with. So this bandaid is going to be pulled off the skin exquisitely slowly, in the hope that something will prevent this tower from crumbling. IMHO, Iridium has virtually no possible cures for its fundamental ills. Cutting prices cuts revenues from existing customers while inducing few new customers. Fixed costs keep eating away at a shaky balance sheet. About the only way Iridium can make that payment is to buy some Powerball tickets before midnite tonite and win.

Jon Acheson says:

So, what to do then?

Is it a case that nobody wants or needs satellite phones? Or that Iridium is too expensive for something that cellphones do more cheaply 90% of the time? Ot that they’re selling to the wrong people?

If so, what do you do with this fleet of satellites up there in orbit? Let it disintegrate in space? That’s a total loss on investment. If voice data isn’t cost-effective to transmit over Iridium, what other kinds of data are there? Maybe some kind of vitally important realtime telemetry would give them better bang for the buck.

Do they make a CHEAP Iridium satchelphone and wire up the third world?

Could they make receive-only Iridium gadgets for cheap and get into the pager business worldwide?


Mike (profile) says:

Re: All good questions

Definitely good questions. I remember two years ago investigating Iridium (in comparison to Teledesic at the time) and being *amazed* that the bandwidth was so low and that they had zero plans to transmit data via the satellites. I think it might be the case where they just didn’t think far enough ahead. If I remember correctly, and I might not… the maximum transfer rate was 2400 bps, making it close to useless in transmitting most data. Maybe there are some things it could be used for, but I can’t think of any offhand.

Yes, cell phones can accomplish most of what Iridium could do for insanely lower prices. In fact, in some cases it appears that cell phones are better (I’ve heard a few times that folks can’t get their Iridium phones to work indoors!!).

Maybe they should blow up the satellites and charge folks for the light show… Or, perhaps they could become novelty collectors items. Auction off each satellite on eBay…

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