Iridium Communications Inc. today announced that it has reached 500,000 total billable subscribers for its satellite voice and data services worldwide. The number is comprised of approximately 90 percent commercial customers and 10 percent U.S. Government customers. "Our consistent double-digit growth in subscribers -- more than 25 percent growth every year for the last five years -- is a reflection of our global network reach, our service offerings enabling important connections, and our expanding partner ecosystem," said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. "This milestone demonstrates how far we've evolved over the last 10 years from a supplier of mobile satellite phones for niche markets into a global communications company connecting anyone and anything, all over the world, in ways and places in which they expect to be connected." Desch noted that one of the primary reasons behind Iridium's dramatic rate of subscriber growth is the emerging machine-to-machine (M2M) data market. The company's second-quarter 2011 earnings showed that M2M data subscribers now represent 32 percent of billable commercial subscribers and 21 percent of billable government subscribers. "Low-data-rate mobile satellite devices are projected to grow by more than 20 percent annually to more than 3.7 million units in service by the end of 2015," said Tim Farrar, president of TMF Associates. "Iridium's low-cost short-burst data (SBD) transceiver and partnerships with established world-class players in the mobile data industry will further accelerate Iridium's already rapid growth in the M2M sector." "We are much like our terrestrial mobile communications peers, with data products and services representing the biggest source of incremental growth," Desch said. "It's also important to note that our voice products and services are continuing to grow, which we recently highlighted in our Iridium Force personal communications portfolio expansion announcement. We are making inroads into largely untapped enterprise and consumer sectors, while at the same time continuing to grow market share in our traditional vertical segments." Iridium NEXT, the company's next-generation network, will bring even more capabilities and capacity for the company's growing customer base. "There is a tremendous potential for continued growth in mobile satellite connections around the world as terrestrial wireless networks cover less than 10 percent of the Earth's surface," added Desch. "We do a great job connecting the remaining 90 percent."

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