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Iridium set to see customers double in four years after Certus launch

Leveraging on the commercial availability of its Iridium Certus service in the second quarter of 2017, Iridium vp & gm aviation & martime business Brian Pemberton expects its customer base to accelerate and double in four years between 2017 and 2021.

Iridium Certus is purpose-built for the new world of data in maritime communications in the future with possible speeds up to 1.4mbps, Pemberton said. This is a transformative change in the L-band space because it will offer speeds three times the current fastest speeds, he added.

"Once Certus comes into service we'll have a best-in-class solution in terms of coverage, reliability, performance of the terminals and the network and all with really compelling price points on the equipment and service," said Pemberton.

"We've seen very strong adoption and growth in our OpenPort service (which is a prelude to Certus) in the past 12 months and we expect to see a migration of those customers once Certus is launched," said Pemberton. He added that Iridium also expects "rather significant market capture" of non-Iridium customers. This could happen either because of timing when there were fewer options previously or whether the service and price package is better.

Iridium is also looking to invest in more analytical tools capability so that it can provide the full benefits of big data that its new network can deliver. "We have some basic inhouse capabilities but we're looking to mature those substantially over the next several years," said Pemberton adding that some of this might be developed inhouse while other components might be gained through acquisitions or arrangements with other parties.

For example Iridium is looking at a concept it calls subscription based applications where Iridium will work with an application provider to make available a service with a predictable cost in terms of both the service and the data charges, he added.

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