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IRIDIUM EYES CHEAP SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS FOR SHIPS IN JAPAN
[June 30, 2009]

IRIDIUM EYES CHEAP SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS FOR SHIPS IN JAPAN


TOKYO, Jun 30, 2009 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- Iridium Satellite LLC, the U.S.

operator of the Iridium constellation of communications satellites, will begin offering a new satellite communications service in Japan for ships that costs about 10-20 per cent less than its previous service and can send data around 50 times faster at 128 kilobits per second.



The service for ships is now dominated by Inmarsat, a British firm that has been in the Japanese market for 30 years.

Iridium has been in the market for around 10 years, but until now offered data rates of only 2.4kbps -- far too poky to compete against Inmarsat, which offers speeds as high as 432kpbs.


Iridium's new service is still slower. But while the Inmarsat service requires a communications terminal costing 2-5 million yen (US$52,080), the new Iridium service works with a terminal that costs only around 800,000 yen.

The use of the Inmarsat service with its expensive hardware is limited mainly to large oceangoing ships. Iridium's new service is easier for fishing vessels and inland vessels to afford.

Iridium will offer the service in Japan through KDDI Corp.

(TSE:9433). Fees will be set below 150 yen per minute, reportedly 20-30 yen or so less than the fees charged by Inmarsat.

(Nikkei)

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