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GlobalStar, ICO, InmarSat, Iridium, SkyBridge, Teledesic: a Special Report. Current Reports: "Satellite Telephony": Globalstar
Inmarsat Satellite phone
for voice and data transmission in operation. Here in Saguaro National Park, Arizona
(Photo ©PressCom )

Globalstar Inaugural Launch.
(Feb. 14, 1998)
The total number of Globalstar satellites
that have been successfully launched are 40.

Reporters can transmit
from anywhere thanks to satellite phones
. Here a handheld Motorola/Iridium satellite phone in the Saguaro National Park, Arizona.
Iridium launched its commercial service in November '98.
(©Photo PressCom)


Iridium Signs Agreement with SAIT Communications S.A. to Provide Satellite Communication Services

May 3, 2001 - Iridium Satellite LLC today announced that it has signed a non-exclusive agreement with SAIT Communications S.A. to be a top-tier service provider of the only truly global, truly mobile satellite voice and data solution with complete coverage of the Earth's oceans, airways and Polar Regions. SAIT Communications S.A. (Former SAIT RadioHolland) currently provides satellite services for remote maritime, government and military users in Western Europe, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Asia Pacific and the Americas. SAIT's agreement with Iridium will enable it to provide its customers with a versatile communications service that will address customers' needs to stay in touch when operating in remote locations around the world. With recognized leadership in key industrial and government markets, 24x7 customer care, and prior experience in providing satellite communication services, SAIT expects to play a significant role in building on Iridium's existing customer base.
"Iridium Satellite recognizes the unique needs of our users, and we are dedicated to providing customers with knowledgeable service providers who can meet their communication requirements," said Gino Picasso, CEO of Iridium. "SAIT has more than 80 years of experience providing quality communications services to users worldwide, and we are positive they will be an integral member of our distribution channel."
Currently, Iridium offers mobile voice telephony (including mobile-to-mobile connections) and in June 2001, both dial-up and direct Internet will be available.
(more at:
Iridium Corporate News)
ICO-Teledesic Global and CCI International Reach Collaboration Agreement

KIRKLAND, Wash., and WASHINGTON--March 22, 2001--In its second such agreement in a week, ICO-Teledesic Global Limited, a holding company for telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw's satellite assets, and CCI International, NV (CCII), a mobile satellite communications company, today announced that they have reached a collaboration agreement. Like its agreement with Ellipso Inc. announced March 14, ICO-Teledesic Global, through its affiliate New ICO, and CCII will work together on technical, financial, business and regulatory issues to build a spectrum-efficient satellite communications system. The agreement ultimately could lead to a strategic alliance and the merger of ICO-Teledesic Global and CCII assets, subject to shareholder and egulatory approvals...... (more: & "ICO-Teledesic Global")

ICO-Teledesic Global and New ICO Pull S-4

KIRKLAND, Wash.--March 16, 2001--In light of current market conditions and evolving business plans, ICO-Teledesic Global Limited and New ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited today withdrew their pending S-4 registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The S-4, which was filed in September 2000, related to the proposed mergers of New ICO and Teledesic Corporation into CO-Teledesic Global, a Kirkland, Wash.-based holding company formed to hold the satellite assets of telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw. ICO-Teledesic Global and New ICO determined to withdraw the registration statement while they assess the impact of dramatically different financial market conditions and changes to the New ICO and Teledesic business plans. The move also gives the companies added flexibility as they attempt to stabilize the mobile satellite industry and build viable satellite systems offering a broad array of advanced elecommunications services in the United States and around the world. (more:

Iridium Satellite Phone Gets Offer
Sun Jun 04, 2000 - A prominent investment firm is offering to save the Iridium satellite telephone venture from destruction with a $50 million bid to acquire all of the bankrupt company's assets. New York-based Castle Harlan Inc. revealed Thursday that it has submitted a proposal to the federal court overseeing the bankruptcy case, which had seemingly reached a climax in March when a judge approved Iridium's request to cease operations and destroy its $5 billion constellation of more than 66 satellites by pulling them rom orbit. Motorola, the lead investor in one of the costliest business debacle in history, had quietly kept the satellites running over the past few months, hopeful a last-minute bidder might emerge. The chances of finding a savior seemed slim once wireless pioneer Craig McCaw withdrew plans to bail out the company in early March, however. (...Flash Commerce) and more at Yahoo News - A.P &

Globalstar Troubled After Iridium Bankruptcy
Wednesday March 22, 2000-Just like its ne'er-do-well cousin, high-flying flub-up Iridium, Globalstar could be a goner if it doesn't ramp up subscribers for its global wireless phone service immediately. Cheap, widespread cellular services are quickly killing the satellite services market.
Globalstar, established in 1991, wholesales mobile and fixed satellite-based telephony services to providers all over the world. Its network uses Code Division Multiple Access technology to transmit calls within cellular regions and low-earth orbit satellites to transmit calls when end users travel outside of a cellular service area.
Globalstar USA, the Vodafone Airtouch-owned service provider arm in the U.S., first launched its commercial service in North America Feb. 28. Its forerunner, satellite service provider Iridium, got its satellite-based phone service up and running first in 1998, but by late 1999, when it failed to attract enough subscribers to pay back its investors, the company filed for Chapter 11. Last week, Iridium said it would take its satellites out of service entirely if it was not bought. This week, the company says it received several last minute bids, which are pending approval.
Meanwhile, satellite provider Teledesic--backed by Chairman Craig McCaw, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Motorola, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the Abu Dhabi Investment Co. and Boeing--is expected to launch a global broadband satellite service in 2004.
``Iridium is an absolute disaster for Globalstar,'' says Ian Gillet, an analyst at International Data Corp. ``We're all watching them very closely. I give them a quarter at most to prove themselves.''
High prices and ineffectual marketing, which brought on Iridium's demise, could ruin Globalstar. ``It's quite expensive compared to cellular,'' says Callie Pottorf, a research analsyt at IDC. ``Users have a lot more options now han when satellite services were first conceived,'' she says.
Globalstar offers its customers phone service from 27 countries for fees ranging from $19.99 per month to $99.99 per month and charges $1.39 to $1.99 per minute for its satellite network.
More: Yahoo news and
Boeing-led rocket launch ends in failure
Monday, March 13, 2000 - A rocket launched at sea by a Boeing-led multinational venture crashed into the Pacific Ocean yesterday, destroying a telecommunications satellite and stalling another of the company's commercial-launch programs. The Sea Launch consortium's third blastoff from a converted oil platform about 1,400 miles southeast of Hawaii seemed to go fine at first. But a few minutes into the flight, after separation of the Zenit 3SL rocket's first stage, engineers and technicians in a nearby launch-control ship lost flight-data signals.......
......Sea Launch, which involves Boeing and Russian, Norwegian and Ukrainian companies, lent diversity to Boeing's rocket family in a competitive world satellite-launch market. After two previous successes, yesterday's failure puts 18 missions on hold while Sea Launch investigates what went wrong. Because of the multinational nature of the enture, the U.S. State Department will have to approve the scope of that investigation.....
.....Insurance will cover the loss of the payload, which was the first of 12 satellites for ICO Global Communications, a London-based company being rescued from bankruptcy by Seattle cellular pioneer Craig McCaw and other investors. ICO is building an Internet-oriented wireless-communications system, and McCaw may combine it with a similar planned venture, Teledesic..... by Chuck Taylor
Seattle Times aerospace reporter (more..) and more @
Motorola off its Highs with Iridium in Trouble Again - Craig McCaw announced last week that his investment arm, Eagle River, is withdrawing its proposed $74.6 million investment in Iridium. The company secured a $3 million bank loan, but that will only keep it running until March 17. Motorola had planned to invest in a restructured Iridium, but has written off previous investments to zero. The only risk to Motorola should Iridium completely fold up shop is the potential lawsuits that would stem from angry debtholders. The company could face up to $2 billion in claims on the company's liquidated assets. Iridium LLC Remains Committed to Asset Sale (more)
Washington, DC, March 03, 2000 - Iridium LLC learned yesterday that Craig McCaw's Eagle River Investments LLC would not submit a purchase proposal for Iridium's assets as previously anticipated. Iridium remains committed to a sale of its assets and is aggressively pursuing other potential qualified buyers. At the Company's request, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York postponed the hearing scheduled for today. "We have received expression of interest from other potential buyers," said Iridium COO Randall Brouckman. "Much attention has been afforded the potential McCaw bid. Now that he has clarified his intentions, we believe that the quality of our system and the value of our assets should attract additional qualified proposals."
Iridium LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 13, 1999. Iridium LLC became the world's first global satellite phone and paging company on November 1, 1998. Its network of 66-low earth orbiting satellites combined with existing terrestrial cellular systems enables customers to communicate around the globe. Iridium World Communications, Ltd. is the public investment vehicle of Iridium LLC.(
Investors Led By Craig McCaw to Provide Financing for Iridium

(Washington, DC, February 9, 2000) A group of investors led by telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw has agreed, subject to certain conditions, to provide $74.6 million in interim financing for Iridium LLC, which operates the world's first handheld global satellite communications system.
The debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing will enable Iridium to continue the company's operations beyond February 15, when terms will expire on a commitment of $20 million from current investors led by Motorola to fund operations from December 16, 1999, to February 15, 2000.
Iridium LLC today asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to authorize the McCaw-led DIP financing for Iridium. The investment is the result of Iridium's efforts since its August 13, 1999, Chapter 11 filing to find an outside investor to fund a reorganization plan or to purchase the company's assets.
Successful Launch Adds Four Spare Satellites to Globalstar Constellation All System Satellites Now in Orbit and Fully Operational
NEW YORK--Feb. 8, 2000-- Globalstar successfully launched four low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites, providing on-orbit back-up capacity for the company's global mobile telephone system. The company's space segment is now complete with 48 operating satellites supported by four spares.
``The completion of our constellation with this last launch is a remarkable achievement,'' said Bernard L. Schwartz, Globalstar chairman and chief executive officer. ``We are especially pleased with the satellites' trouble-free performance. In fact, based on their performance so far, the satellites are expected to exceed their planned lifespan of seven-and-a-half years and fly for ten years.
``With the space segment successfully in place,'' Mr. Schwartz continued, ``all of our energy and resources are directed toward the progressive roll-out of service around the world.'' The newest four Globalstar satellites, manufactured by prime contractor Space Systems/Loral, were launched today at 4:24 p.m. EST aboard a Boeing Delta II launch vehicle from the Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida.

Eagle River and Teledesic Complete Due Diligence of ICO; Second Funding Round Moves Forward
LONDON &endash; February 4, 2000 &endash; ICO Global Communications, the global mobile communications company, today announced that Eagle River Investments LLC, telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw's private investment company, has entered into a definitive agreement with ICO under which Eagle River, among other things, acknowledges the completion of the due diligence in connection with the McCaw-led investment in ICO and agrees that all conditions to the funding of $275 million in Tranche II funding have been waived. (more at:
Boeing becomes strategic launch partner and shareholder of SkyBridge
Bethesda, MD, December 9, 1999 - SkyBridge LP and The Boeing Company have signed a partnership agreement under which Boeing has become the strategic launch service provider as well as equity partner, bringing its expertise to the program and significant financing facilities. SkyBridge's 80 low-earth orbiting satellite constellation will deliver global connectivity to business and residential users worldwide with performances comparable to that of future terrestrial broadband technologies (More).
US Bankruptcy Court Approves Ico GLOBAL'S Refinancing Plan
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, 1999 DEC 6 -- By Steve Gold, Newsbytes. ICO Global Communications' slow climb back to financial normality took several steps forward late last week, when the US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., approved the satellite phone firm's refinancing plan. As reported previously, ICO Global announced at the beginning of November that Craig McCaw, the cellular entrepreneur, and a group of other investors, had agreed to refinance the satellite communications company.
The firm, which is still planning to launch its satellite-phone service in the fall of 2000, hit the financial skids late this summer in the wake of the continuing problems affecting the Iridium network. Within weeks of Iridium filing for Chapter 11, ICO Global was forced into the same inancial proceedings on Aug. 27, 1999. The day after McCaw's plan was unveiled, November 2, brought the less than favorable news that Inmarsat, a original major investor in ICO Global, was not making any further investments in the company. ICO Global seems to have shrugged this off and, when Newsbytes spoke to Michael Johnson, a spokesperson for the company recently, he told Newsbytes that the financing plan is very positive news for the company.
"This will allow us to proceed with our filings to come out of Chapter 11," he said, adding that the process should be completed by around April 2000. "We're still going ahead with our first satellite launch in January, and everything is on target for our service launch," he said. The ICO financing plan approved by the US bankruptcy court comes from Craig McCaw and his affiliated companies, Teledesic and Eagle River Investments. These firms will lead a group of international investors that will provide up to $1.2 billion to ICO Global. McCaw said that it is his hope that, by working with ICO's team and international partners, "we can bring the company back to good health and make a contribution to global communications, particularly in the developing world." Part of the refinancing deal involves McCaw teaming with Subhash Chandra, the Indian media entrepreneur. McCaw and Chandra have committed to provide up to 62 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of the equity funding required for ICO to exit from bankruptcy. ICO Global's Web site is at .
Reported by,.
Bankruptcy Court Approves Initial Stages of Financing Plan for ICO Led by Craig McCaw
LONDON, December 3, 1999: ICO Global Communications, the global mobile communications company, today announced that the US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, has granted final approval to the company's $500 million in financing by a group of international investors led by telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw.
In a related development, Mr McCaw and Indian media entrepreneur Subhash Chandra have joined together in a bid to provide the new financing required by ICO. Mr McCaw and Mr Chandra have committed to provide up to 62 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of the equity funding required for ICO to exit from bankruptcy.
Craig McCaw close to buying IRIDIUM
Craig McCaw bid for the satellite-telephony company was made on November 26th and is still being negociated with Motorola Inc., Iridium's biggest investor, said SoundView Technology Group analyst Tim O'Neil. If successful, combining Iridium with ICO Global (wich he also seeks to acquire) would create strong rival to GLOBALSTAR. ( From Bloomberg News).

NEW YORK - November 22, 1999 -- Globalstar successfully launched an additional four low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites today on a Soyuz rocket, bringing the total number of Globalstar satellites now in space to 48 and completing the planned constellation. A final launch of four spare satellites will take place in January 2000 on a Delta II rocket. More - See our story and photos

London, 20 October, 1999: ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Ltd. today announced that it has received non-binding letters of intent for debtor in possession financing from strategic investors in excess of $225 million, the amount needed to finance the company's immediate cash needs. The non-binding letters were reported to the bankruptcy court in Delaware on Friday. Accordingly, ICO and its financial advisor, Wasserstein Perella & Co., believe there is reasonable assurance that the company can meet its financing requirements to begin global mobile satellite services, currently expected to start in April 2001.
Richard Greco, ICO's Chief Executive Officer, said, "I am very pleased with the support shown by strategic investors to our new business plan and financing plan. By aggressively reducing costs, we have cut our financing requirements by almost 30 percent to $1.2 billion, which is the amount needed to begin our global mobile satellite service. We have started to turn the corner with the new ICO and are pressing onward to emerge from Chapter 11, complete our system, and start service."
London, November 1, 1999: ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Ltd. today announced that its board has approved a financing plan whereby telecommunications pioneer Craig O. McCaw and his affiliated companies Teledesic LLC and Eagle River Investments LLC will ead a group of international investors that will provide up to $1.2 billion to ICO.
Geneva, October 9, 1999 - Motorola announced today that it will debut the world's smallest flexible multi-mode satellite phone at its booth during Geneva Telecom '99. The new Motorola Satellite SeriesTM 9505 Portable phone represents an expansion of its already comprehensive Satellite Series global communications products and accessories for use on the Iridium® system. More
September 29, 1999 - McCaw Telecom Company Eyes Iridium
KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Teledesic LLC may speed up plans to provide wireless Internet access via satellite by investing in Iridium, the satellite phone company mired in bankruptcy court. Iridium's network of 66 low-orbit satellites could be used to provide limited Internet services until Teledesic's planned 288-satellite system is fully operational.

Teledesic, founded by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and cellular phone pioneer Craig McCaw, revealed earlier this week that it is looking for ways to enter the satellite communications market before its broadband system is introduced in 2004.
``The market conditions that exist today ... have created a time where it's prudent for us to explore some opportunities that exist out there,'' Teledesic spokesman Roger Nyhus said Monday.
While there was no specific mention of Iridium, industry analysts say Teledesic co-founder Craig McCaw might take advantage of Iridium's dire straits.
``McCaw is an opportunist,'' said Bob Egan, director of mobile and wireless research for the Gartner Group. ``Iridium is saddled with debt. Given that Craig is an entrepreneur and could begin to generate some revenue and brand awareness ... it might be seen as an opportunity.''
Analysts also noted that Motorola, Iridium's lead investor with a 19 percent stake, is also the prime contractor for the Teledesic system.
f McCaw steps in to help Iridium, it could strengthen Teledesic's relationship with Motorola and provide some operational experience in the satellite business, Egan said.Teledesic's has raised more than $1.5 billion for its satellite system. Other large investors include Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and Boeing Co.

(photo ©PressCom)

Satellite launch at Vandenberg Air force Base, CA
Globalstar satellites now in space to 40
NEW YORK, September 22, 1999 - Globalstar today announced the successful launch of an additional four low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites, bringing the total number of Globalstar satellites now in space to 40. The latest four Globalstar satellites, manufactured by prime contractor Space Systems/Loral, were launched today at 10:33 AM EDT, aboard a Soyuz-Ikar launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Globalstar, which is about to begin a phased roll-out of its service, remains on schedule to launch a further 12 satellites through the rest of this year to complete its planned constellation of 48 satellites and four in-orbit spares. All four Globalstar satellites from today's launch were separated from the upper stage of the rocket at an altitude of 920 kilometers (571 miles) above the Earth. Flight engineers at Globalstar's ground control center in San Jose, Calif., subsequently acquired the satellites using the six Globalstar telemetry command unit gateways located in Aussaguel, France; Yeoju, South Korea; Dubbo, Australia; Bosque Allegre, Argentina; Delareyville, South Africa; and Clifton, Texas. Globalstar engineering teams will raise these satellites to their operational altitude of 1,414 kilometers (877 miles) over the next several weeks.More - See our story and photos
(Washington, D.C., June 21, 1999) - Iridium unveiled today a revamped marketing strategy, which has as its cornerstone significantly reduced and simplified service and equipment pricing. The new strategy focuses on delivering tailored communications solutions to customers in the industrial marketplace that have the greatest immediate need for satellite communications services. The aggressive new strategy aims to position Iridium as a key player in the market and to drive sales worldwide. More at: Iridium news
Nine firms to share wave spectrum in U.S. FCC plan
WASHINGTON - (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on March 18 proposed allowing nine competing satellite communications companies to share a desirable band of airwaves being made available soon.
Under the Federal Communications Commission proposal, the 2 gigahertz band of spectrum suitable for mobile telecommunications offerings could be split among four existing U.S. satellite firms, two upstart U.S. ventures and three non-U.S. companies.
The proposal was issued for comment and could be refined or substantially changed before being approved. FCC officials said they were aiming for completing the rules by the end of 1999 and licensing the companies in the first half of 2000.
The four existing companies seeking use of the airwave band already plan to offer telecommunications services using low earth orbiting satellites over other parts of the spectrum. But in applications to the FCC, the companies said additional spectrum would allow them to offer new or enhanced services.
The companies included Iridium World Communications Ltd., the troubled venture started by Motorola Inc., and Loral Space & Communications Ltd.'s Globalstar L.P.
Also seeking spectrum was Constellation Communications Inc., owned in part by Bell Atlantic Corp., Raytheon Co and Orbital Sciences Corp.
The fourth U.S. company is Mobile Communications Holdings Inc., a unit of Washington-based Ellipso Inc. The company is funded by several venture capital funds, Boeing Co. and Israel Aircraft Industries. The U.S. upstarts seeking spectrum include Boeing, which wants to offer aeronautical services, and California-based Celsat America Inc.
Companies outside the United States seeking spectrum were ICO Global Communications Ltd., Inmarsat and Ottawa, Canada-based TMI Communications and Co.
ICO's satellite service will be launched in the year 2000, based on a new generation of pocket-sized mobile phones that will allow users to make and receive calls at any time, anywhere in the world. The handsets will be dual mode, capable of working on mobile satellite networks. Customers will be able to roam between ICO and mobile networks around the world. If no cellular network is available, the handset will roam to ICO's satellite network to offer customers unrestricted mobility and accessibility for their communications needs.
Skybridge is a $3.5 billion project from Alcatel Espace and Loral Space and Communications, using 64 LEO satellites in Ku Band. Expected to enter service in 2001, with full operation by 2002.
Teledesic: KIRKLAND, Wash. &endash; March 18, 1999 &endash; Teledesic LLC, which is building a global, broadband Internet-in-the-Sky, today announced the expansion of its senior leadership team. Mark Shahriary, a former senior Hughes executive, has joined the company as president, bringing 20 years of satellite manufacturing and management experience to Teledesic.
Using a constellation of low-Earth-orbit satellites, Teledesic is the first satellite communications network that will enable affordable, worldwide access to "fiber-like" telecommunications services such as broadband Internet access, videoconferencing and interactive multimedia. Craig McCaw and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates are the two primary founding investors in Teledesic. Other investors include Motorola, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and The Boeing Company. Teledesic (pronounced "tel-eh-DEH-sic") is a private company based in Kirkland, Wash., a suburb of Seattle.

"The Iridium constellation is completely intact...
Jim Walz - President of Iridium North America, December 1998:
... every launch was successful.. . 66 satellites were launched. We put in "Satellite Spares", so that today the full 66 are operating ... and the Iridium constellation is completely intact..."
"...We are currently meeting our Business Plan commitment. We exceeded 4-digit numbers in unit's sales a month ago. Remember, we are in what we like to call a journey and that journey takes time to build momentum and we are getting very good feed-back from our customers, we're making slight tweaks of improvement in our system and we're building..."
"...Our LEO system covers every single square inch of the earth. That reachability is unique to mankind. We've never had this until now. We're delivering voice. We will be delivering data, and even though it'll be low speed data, it will get the data there, it'll get your fax there, and I think in he foreseeable future, what we will be offering exceeds the expectations of the public..."
(Ask for the full version of this interview: )

Photo: Irene Taub - ©PressCom

Teledesic, Motorola, Boeing, Matra Marconi Space to Partner on `Internet-in-the-Sky'.

NEW YORK--May 21, 1998 --Teledesic LLC and Motorola Inc. today announced they will become partner in the further development and deployment of Teledesic's global, broadband "Internet-in-the-Sky" satellite communications system. The Boeing Company, the world's leading aerospace company, and Matra Marconi Space, Europe's leading satellite manufacturer, will round out the team of founding industrial partners.

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