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Data A High-Flyer For Iridium Satellite

Iridium Satellite, after successfully digging its way out of bankruptcy, has found a surprising savior--data--and the company Tuesday announced a new data-only transceiver that it believes will capitalize on the growing demand for satellite-based data.

The 9600 data transceiver, based on Iridium's Short Burst Data (SBD) technology, will be offered later this year and the firm believes it will open up a whole new set of markets.

"The data side of our business is growing rapidly," said company spokeswoman Liz DeCastro in an interview. "Iridium was originally a [voice] handset company. But now we have customers who want data only."

The firm's original business plan anticipated a world that wanted wireless voice communications for consumers. What wasn't anticipated, however, was that the terrestrial cell-phone business would take off and satisfy most consumers, negatively impacting satellite-voice handset applications in the process.

Four years ago, a group of private investors bought Iridium's assets in bankruptcy proceedings. The firm changed its focus and targeted three major markets: maritime, aviation, and defense/government. The company works with OEM partners to address vertical markets. The new-generation data transceiver will offer data services featuring global coverage, low-latency, and two-way communication.

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