Iridium, the once high-flying but money losing satellite phone provider founded by Motorola, is getting some ground under its feet. The now independent company reported 127,000 subscribers for its phone service and the first half of this year. This figure is 11 percent more than the 114,000 subscribers the company had as of December 31, 2004.
Iridium operates 66 low-earth orbiting, cross-linked satellites and 12 in-orbit spares to provide global communications service. The primary customer of the company traditionally has been the US government, including the Department of Defense. Within the first half of 2005, Iridium said that the commercial subscriber base in aviation and maritime applications has grown significantly and is now about four times as large as the defense subscriber base. (THG)