Iridium South Pacific says the bankruptcy of its American counterpart, Iridium LLC, will have no operational impact on this region.
Iridium South Pacific, says chief executive Carlton Jennings, is an independent carrier, majority owned by DDI and Kyocera of Japan. It trades independently of Iridium LLC, and while he is confident that the US company will successfully restructure, “in reality it has no operational impact on Iridium South Pacific … We will continue to provide uninterrupted global service to our customers,” he says.
Reduced prices for calls and handsets have boosted Iridium’s sales and usage in the Australasian region by 350% since July 1, he claims.
While the US company is in difficulty, says Jennings, there are 12 other Iridium companies worldwide which are doing well. “And in the States, the purpose of the court-supervised reorganisation is to help a company come through [financial difficulties] and carry on — and there are plenty of big companies which have done that,” Jenn-ings says.
Iridium’s biggest shareholder, Motorola, operates and maintains the Iridium network of 66 satellites. It will continue to offer financial and operational support to Iridium, and expects a debt restructuring plan to be drawn up within 30 days.
It has assured Iridium subscribers that their service will suffer no interruption.
Transpower Y2K project director Robert Scott has bought Iridium and Inmarsat phones for use during emergency situations such as earthquakes, storms — and possibly Y2K — but is unconcerned about the developments.
“No one’s going to let that [satellite] infrastructure be abandoned, so even [if Iridium folds] someone will pick it up — and probably at a lower price, so they can lower our costs too.”