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Iridium is a satellite-based personal communication service that offers
global wireless digital communications. They also provide voice,
messaging and data services to subscribers though their mobile
telephones.
Iridium's satellite communication service was launched on March 28th
of 2001. Soon after its launch, Iridium expanded its services to
include data services. Iridium's aim is to provide affordable,
dependable and long-term global communications to the masses.
Just like all satellite-based telecommunication networks, Iridium's
system has a big advantage over terrestrial based fixed and cellular
telephone networks in that Iridium provide coverage across all ocean
areas, air routes, and all landmasses, even the Poles. Below are a
few benefits of Iridium's global telecommunications service:

Only two-way coverage that includes the world's oceans and polar
regions.
Equip your employees with Iridium message receive units and reach
them anywhere.
Central office dispatch to and from field employees.
Fixed or handheld units.
A virtual private communications network.
No special code dialling necessary.
PBX and wireless phone compatibility.
Flat rates that have no long distance or roaming charges of any kind.
Small, inexpensive terminals
The potential to equip your employees with Iridium message receive
units and reach them anywhere.
Compact, handheld units that are water, shock and dust resistant.
No special orientation is required for use
Walk and talk" capability (i.e. no need to stand in a stationary
position for the duration of a phone call).
Small antennas for both fixed or portable applications.
Hands free operation
Easy Installation into any vehicle
Satellite cross-linking (more on this later)
Digital network
GSM platform based
Global paging
Global coverage
Consistent quality
Reliable service
Robust features and functionality
Total communication system

Here is a list of a few areas where Iridium's satellite
telecommunication service is used:

Corporations
Governments
Military
Remote facilities
Humanitarian
Remote facilities
Rural communication
Off-shore rig
Cabin, tent, camp, shelter, trailers
Law Enforcement
Adventure Travel
Rescue
Relief aid
Research
News organizations
Disaster relief
Heavy industry

Below is a list of possible types of communication achievable though
the use of Iridium's service:

Headquarters-to-field office and field office-to-headquarters
Building-to-building
Building-to-mobile personnel
Mobile-to-mobile
Back-up and emergency communications
Voice, voice-mail, call forwarding E-mail, messaging, web access,
and file transfer
Fax and enhanced messaging
E-mail, messaging, web access, and file transfer

Iridium uses satellite cross-linking to ensure that:
There is less reliance on terrestrial cellular and fixed networks
There are less outages
Continuous talk-time
Higher degree of reliability
No need to be in the footprint of the gateway in order to get a high
level of reception.

Iridium also offers several purchase and rental options supported by
their Satellite 9500 and smaller, lighter, and water-resistant Satellite
9505.
The cross-linking of satellites ensures that there is total coverage of
the world (North and South poles included). Below is Iridium's satellite
phone global coverage map: (courtesy of Iridium)



There is a list of embargoed countries to which Iridium satellite phones
will not complete a connection with the local telephone network. They are:
N. Korea
Poland
Hungary

Special government permission might be required to bring Iridium
satellite phones into the embargoes countries.

In addition to these countries, there are a few other countries where is
it illegal to bring an Iridium satellite phone in. These countries are:

Cuba
Iran
Libya
Sudan
Angola
Yugoslavia


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