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Iridium, Newly Merged, Continues Pursuit Of Global Maritime Markets

After sticking $500 million in the bank, Iridium Satellite returned to selling its global wireless service this week as it began signing up maritime customers for its GoChat shipping crew calling plan.

The GoChat service features cards in 30-, 45-, and 60-minute segments. Iridium's maritime products have been a mainstay of its business ever since it emerged from bankruptcy early in the decade.

The satellite calling company received a $500 million cash infusion last week from GHL Acquisition. The deal left GHL, an affiliate of investment banking firm Greenhill & Co., with some 55% of Iridium shares, and Iridium stockholders with most of the remaining shares. Iridium's management team will continue operating the company.

GoChat is the latest product in the company's maritime line of offerings. "By removing time-of-day restrictions for discounted pricing, we are making it more convenient for crew members to call home during their off-watch hours," said Greg Ewert, Iridium's executive VP of global channel distribution, in a statement. "Iridium GoChat is another step toward our goal of being the premier, preferred satcom provider to the maritime industry."

The company's customer base has grown to more than 300,000 subscribers, according to published reports. Matt Desch, Iridium's chief executive, said the Greenhill cash infusion will place Iridium in a strong financial position for years to come and help it launch a new satellite constellation.

The company will be renamed Iridium Communications, and the new entity will apply for stock market listing on Nasdaq.