China Spacecom says it is planning to open an Iridium gateway earth station in 2007.
"The gateway will make it possible for us to expand our range of Iridium voice and data services in China," said Tong Shirong, president of China Spacecom. "There is a large demand for Iridium short-burst data links in water resources management, hydrological monitoring, weather data collection, fishing vessel tracking, heavy machinery automation,
environmental protection and other industries, as well as voice and email communications with ships and aircraft on domestic and international routes."
Iridium Satellite and China Spacecom have recently signed agreements under which Iridium will provide technical assistance for commercial activation and ongoing maintenance of the gateway. China Spacecom has been an Iridium service provider since December 2005. The gateway, which will be located in Beijing, will support Iridium voice and data services throughout China and could be operational by the end of 2007.
"The China mobile satellite market is just emerging and will complement the tremendous growth of terrestrial mobile voice and data service," said Matt Desch, chairman and CEO, Iridium Satellite. "This announcement is a great endorsement by a partner for our reliable and high quality network, and we also see the China market as an important opportunity for Iridium NEXT, our next generation constellation being planned for operation in six to seven years."