Iridium Communications Inc. announces that OOO Iridium Communications ("Iridium Russia") has received authorization from Russian authorities for commercial operations in the country. Iridium Russia expects to launch service in the second quarter of 2012, once all technical licensing requirements are complete.

Iridium anticipates expanded demand for its products and services in Russia as a result of this authorization for commercial operations. In 2009, Iridium formed Iridium Russia to conduct business in the country due to strong regional interest in its innovative voice and data communications capabilities. Iridium is making a significant, multi-year investment as part of its commitment to the Russian market. The company is actively engaging new and existing distribution relationships in the country to support customer demand.

"Our partners are expressing great enthusiasm for our entry into the Russian market," said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. "We expect Iridium Russia and partners to capture at least 40 percent of the mobile satellite services market in Russia by 2015 -- which we think could be a $70-100 million market by then. Our network is uniquely suited to serve the Russian market with its ability to provide 100 percent global coverage for organizations, businesses and individuals for voice, data, tracking or other critical connectivity. Through cost-effective satellite communications services, Iridium extends the connectivity available beyond that of local telecom and technology companies serving diverse Russian markets. Iridium enables voice and data connections where traditional commercial networks cannot reach, including many remote parts of Russia and within the Arctic Region. Around the world, our service has become essential to important sectors such as maritime, aviation, emergency response, civil government, oil and gas, mining and transportation. And, Iridium Russia will be able to serve these markets within the country both this year and well into the future thanks to our planned launch of our second generation network, Iridium NEXT."

"Blue Sky Network is proud to be an Iridium partner," said Jon Gilbert, president and CEO, Blue Sky Network. "We believe that Iridium's expansion into Russia will be a tremendous opportunity for both Iridium and our organization, as we seek development and growth into this high-potential and untapped market. With vast and remote regions, the Russian markets present ideal application environments for our combined technologies in aviation and land-based mobile tracking."

Victor Chernov, acting chief of the State Emergency and Rescue Marine Service of the Russian Federation and head of the State Marine Rescue Coordination Center, said, "Iridium services will allow our operations to remain connected during critical search and rescue missions throughout the whole territory of Russia, and its exclusive economic zone, including such important regions as the Arctic. We are excited to know that Russia is now authorized to offer these services throughout the Russian Federation -- this is good news for our country."

According to Victor Glushko, general director, Iridium Russia, the country will be a strategic growth area for in-region and international service providers able to deliver Iridium products and services to Russian businesses and, specifically, transportation organizations across land, sea and air. In particular, he said, maritime and energy-related services are showing strong demand throughout the region.

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