Failures

by Mike Masnick




Is Iridium Back?

from the nah,-probably-not dept

Is Iridium back? The company that bought billions of dollars worth of assets from the original Iridium for just $25 million (and immediately signed a contract for $72 million from the US Dept. of Defense) is saying they're back and better than the original Iridium. They may be back, and they may even be better, but some still think they're going to fail. At least they're not trying to be all things to all people, and they've lowered the costs of the damn thing. However, it's still really expensive, and cell phone service and coverage is increasingly getting better. If anything, Iridium's market is going to keep shrinking over time.

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  1. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 8 Jun 2006 @ 3:02pm

    In Support Of Mike

    Mike is right on this one. You commentors are both correct that dis-connected places DO exist, and will for a long, long time. But Iridium, and other failed Satellite Internet companies were not planning on making a living selling services to these most remote places.

    In fact, their business plans, hashed out in the late 80s, included revenues from cities and urban areas in places like Africa and the Amazon. But by the time the satellite services launched, these urban areas had been covered by terrestrial cellular. Thus, a huge chunk of the expected revenue and market opportunity vanished, leaving the long tail of people who want to connect in the middle of nowhere.

    I was in the Amazon, on the river itself... talking on my freaking cellphone! Sure, I was near Manaus at the time, but so were most of the other people in the region who could afford, and wanted, to make a phone call. Surely there were a few folks upriver who might by an Iridium phone, but put them all together from around the world, and you don't have enough customers to fund the business. And that fact is proven.

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