Maritime Industry Readies for a New Era of Choice with Iridium Certus(SM) Global Launch Partners

MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today that Marlink, Speedcast, Applied Satellite Technologies Ltd (AST) and Satcom Global are the initial global maritime launch partners for Iridium Certus.  The first regional maritime launch partner, Arion, will focus on delivering Iridium Certus to the Asian market. These commitments represent a major milestone for the Iridium Certus program, allowing each company to deliver a new choice in the maritime industry and offer what will soon become the market’s fastest L-band satellite connectivity.

For decades, the maritime industry lacked truly global coverage and had only one real choice for L-band connectivity at sea.  This changed with Iridium®, and with the introduction of Iridium Certus, a cutting-edge alternative has arrived for mariners. Offering a high-performing, competitively priced solution that features state-of-the-art technology, Iridium Certus is designed to meet the needs of the ‘connected ship.’ Operating on small-form-factor terminals with solid-state, active-array antennas, the service will enable more efficient business operations, cost-effective crew welfare solutions, and safety communications, while providing a pole-to-pole, truly global grid for Internet of Things (IoT) smart ship applications.  Already undergoing live testing, Iridium Certus terminals built by Cobham and Thales will debut at speeds of 352 Kbps, later upgradable to 704 Kbps through a firmware update. With eventual speeds reaching approximately 1.4 Mbps, Iridium Certus will also enable multiple streaming classes and safety services designed to provide reliable connectivity in even the harshest environments.

The Iridium Certus launch partners represent the truly global nature of Iridium and will deliver business critical broadband solutions to all key maritime markets. Marlink, a leading global maritime communications, IT and digital solutions provider, is a long-time Iridium partner and will offer Iridium Certus as both a standalone service and as a companion to very small aperture terminals (VSAT). “We combine the industry’s most extensive portfolio of technology-agnostic multi-band connectivity services and value-added solutions with a consultative approach to address client needs,” said Ghani Behloul, chief marketing officer, Marlink. “Our long-term, non-exclusive alliances and commercial collaborations with Satellite Operators ensure we can deliver future-proof solutions, and we look forward to continuing our work with Iridium in order to bring the benefits of its next generation network to our global customer base.”

As a global leader in critical communications in maritime, energy, enterprise, and government, Iridium partner Speedcast brings its many years of expertise to the Iridium Certus family. “The uniqueness of Iridium Certus’ reliability and the unmatched global coverage expands our Managed Services portfolio, bringing a new choice to our tailored solutions for the maritime industry,” said Tim Bailey, executive vice president, products, marketing and business development at Speedcast. “The innovation in L-band broadband throughput which Iridium Certus promises, will address a wide range of services for the ship owner, and complements our broad portfolio of high-end, customized solutions we deliver today.”

With a proven track record in delivering market-leading maritime projects world-wide, The AST Group of companies, one of Iridium’s largest partners, joins the Iridium Certus program as a global launch partner, bringing over 25 years of expertise and innovation to the maritime market.  “In today’s ‘bring-your-own-device’ world, managing communications on board vessels is critical,” said Mark Sykes, director, The AST Group. “AST’s unique suite of value-added services, combined with Iridium Certus, will deliver unprecedented capabilities to maximize efficiency and reduce costs at sea.” 

Satcom Global, a worldwide expert in maritime satellite communications and engineering services, will deliver Iridium Certus to its wide network of customers as a global launch partner. As a valued Iridium partner with more than four decades of experience in the maritime market, Satcom Global will bring its value added approach to the Iridium Certus rollout. “Iridium’s signature full global coverage, coupled with the enhanced capacity and speed of Iridium Certus, has created a real buzz in the marketplace,” said Graeme Gordon, global commercial director, Satcom Global. “We’re excited to bring this new service to our diverse maritime customer base.”

An Iridium partner since 2015, Arion is a trusted supplier of marine and offshore safety systems and engineering services. Arion brings a strong footprint and expertise in Asian markets and will provide service as a regional Iridium Certus maritime launch partner.

Enabled by the $3 billion Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, Iridium Certus will provide high-definition voice capabilities, alongside enterprise-grade broadband functionality, covering all of the earth’s oceans. This investment leverages the inherent advantages of Iridium’s lowearth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, to deliver 100-percent global satellite broadband to the maritime market, catering to the needs of the ‘connected ship’ environment.

“Iridium Certus is creating a marketplace that brings choice and innovation, which is something the industry has been craving,” said Wouter Deknopper, vice president and general manager of maritime at Iridium. “For many years we have been listening to the market, and we know that mariners are often forced to sacrifice quality for bandwidth, or vice versa, due to high prices.  But soon we will be delivering a standardized solution that helps solve this persistent issue. Iridium Certus is a game changer and is directly responding to the feedback we hear from our industry partners and customers.” 

Iridium Certus is planned for commercial availability in mid-2018, and Iridium plans to announce additional maritime service providers in the coming weeks. Iridium NEXT is the Company’s next-generation satellite constellation, which will replace its existing network.  To date, there have been four successful Iridium NEXT launches, deploying more than half of the new constellation. Four additional launches are planned in 2018.