Advanced Television

Iridium celebrates 25 years in orbit

November 2, 2023

As the song goes, the road may be long and there have certainly been a few twists and turns, but this week global satellite operator Iridium is celebrating 25 years of activity.

The first connections to its orbital fleet took place on November 1st 1998 and then further satellite commercial connections took place on November 2nd and throughout the following week, 25 years ago, as its signals circled the planet.

The company went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy and rapidly emerged as a very viable business. Less than five years later, the company surpassed 2 million subscribers and now has a five-year subscriber compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 15.5 per cent. As the company completed it’s $3 billion dollar, next-generation replacement constellation in 2019, its investors have been rewarded as capital was returned with a share buyback program totalling $1 billion authorised through 2025 and a quarterly dividend that started in 2023.

Iridium enjoys what it describes as an “ecosystem” of about 500 partner businesses around the world that help create and sell Iridium and Iridium Connected products and services.

Iridium says it makes global IoT accessible and cost-effective, enabling various industries to expand their reach and capabilities and has positively impacted industries such as maritime, aviation, public safety, scientific research, autonomous systems, transportation, and personal communications.

“Since Iridium was founded, the world’s expectations for connectivity have grown enormously. The need for satellite communication continues to grow and is going to become part of our everyday experience, making our planet even smaller. As we look forward, Iridium remains committed to innovation, global connectivity, and supporting the ever-growing communication expectations of our world. We are excited to celebrate and reflect on the past 25 years while looking toward the future and leading new innovations in satellite communications. While our technology is still groundbreaking, it’s been the people in and around Iridium that have made the company the success that it is today,” commented Matt Desch, CEO at Iridium.

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