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News

Iridium Meets Busy Hurricane Season Demand


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Iridium
: 11 September, 2008  (New Product)
Iridium Satellite LLC reports that its mobile satellite communications service has been providing peak levels of reliable, critical lifelines to first responders in the Gulf Coast Region since news of hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike started to appear.
'When first responders tell us they have positioned their Iridium equipment
and services in the eye of the storm, we know we're doing our job,' said Greg
Ewert, executive vice president for global distribution channels at Iridium.
'We are concerned about the well-being of citizens affected by the
hurricanes, as are our partners. Our, suppliers, employees and partners have
worked around the clock to ensure that Iridium equipment and services are
available to anyone needing a communications lifeline.'

Outreach by Iridium and its partner base has resulted in a significant
increase in usage in the Gulf Coast. In areas affected by the recent storms,
hundreds of subscribers made calls on the Iridium network to test their
equipment or to conduct mission-critical operations. When news alerts of the
hurricanes starting appearing last week, network traffic more than doubled in
the region over the previous week. The company shipped 5,000 phones to service
providers for new subscribers in the past two weeks, with the majority going
to partners serving the Gulf Coast.

Iridium is ideal for backup communications services when land-based, cellular
and radio telecom services become inoperable due to winds and flooding. In
addition, Iridium-based equipment and services are capable of being
interoperable with all other emergency communications systems, including UHF
and VHF radios. Iridium is a critical communications backup due to its high
network service quality, its truly mobile nature and its superior coverage
footprint. Major relief organizations have relied on Iridium since its
inception due to the gap-free global coverage only Iridium can offer.

'No matter where their staffs deploy across the globe, emergency aid
organizations can count on Iridium to provide a critical lifeline of reliable
satellite communications coverage,' Ewert said.

Iridium has worked proactively with its more than 175 distribution partners,
as well as with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Coast Guard,
and other emergency response customers, to ensure the availability of its
devices and services during this busy hurricane season.

'Our high traffic levels are a reflection of the critical importance of
Iridium to the national communications infrastructure,' said Ewert. 'Iridium
satellite phones and data equipment can be the only means of communications
when a disaster strikes and land-based infrastructure is impacted.'

Iridium and its distribution partners proactively prepare for anticipated
disasters so that they are ready at a moment's notice to provide extra
equipment and services on demand. They have been pre-positioning equipment in
the field and in storage for immediate shipment. The DoD furnished Iridium
satellite phones to military units preparing for response activities in the
Gulf Region. On the commercial side, C.J. Webber, president of Miami-based
SatPhoneStore, a distributor for Iridium service provider Stratos, reported
that he had, ' ... never seen so many walk-in customers for Iridium phones
in the history of his business.' Michelle Williamson, general manager of
Able-Infosat, said her company has seen an increased demand from the oil and
gas industry for Iridium phones, having deployed close to 100 phones in the
first 24 hours when news of Gustav hit.

For the first responder community, Iridium offers multiple programs,
including:

-- The Iridium Network Quality Guarantee - The Iridium Network Quality
Guarantee promises 100 percent satisfaction with its service. A subscriber
can receive credits of up to 100 minutes of airtime and three months of
subscription fees if the Iridium network fails to complete properly initiated
calls through the subscriber's new Iridium handset. Claims must be submitted
within 90 days of service activation for validation through a participating
service provider. Iridium works with service providers to ensure problems are
not related to operator error or improper usage, and provides assistance to
remediate any concerns to the customer's satisfaction. Independent testing
has verified that Iridium's first-time connection rate is better than 99
percent.

-- 'Test Your Satellite Phone' Initiative - In 2007, Iridium also launched
its first annual 'Test Your Satellite Phone Week' at the beginning of the
U.S. hurricane season. This year, the American Red Cross and
ProtectingAmerica.org partnered with Iridium on this initiative - which
extends throughout the year - to educate satellite phone users on the
importance of regularly checking their batteries, reviewing their operating
procedures and ensuring that all required accessory cables and chargers are
available before going into the field. This campaign urges all satellite
phone users to call a special toll-free number (00-1-480-752-5105) for
testing. Callers will hear a recorded message confirming that their call was
completed and offering quick tips on proper handset usage.

-- The 'Trade-Up To Iridium' Reliability-To-The-Rescue Program - This program
is for North American Globalstar mobile satellite services (MSS) users who are
dissatisfied with the company's widely reported low network availability.
Until September 30, 2008, Globalstar customers may turn their Globalstar
satellite phones in to participating Iridium service providers for rebates of
up to $700 for Iridium equipment and services. In return, Iridium is donating
$5 for each new activation of a former Globalstar customer through this
program to the international Association of Public Communications Officers
(APCO) Silent Key Scholarship Fund to support members with financial needs.
To date, the program has resulted in donations of $17,000 to APCO.
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