MCLEAN, Va., July 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today that two key milestones along the path to becoming the second recognized provider of Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) services have been reached. During its 98th session this past June, the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adopted new performance standards for GMDSS equipment and approved amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Treaty, which pave the way for Iridium to become a recognized GMDSS service provider. The key remaining step in the approval process is an IMO resolution recognizing Iridium as a certified GMDSS mobile satellite service provider. Iridium expects this will be completed during calendar year 2018, with Iridium GMDSS service to begin in 2020.
Iridium formally began the process to become a recognized GMDSS mobile satellite service provider in April 2013, and in March of 2016 announced that the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) Subcommittee on Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue (NCSR) demonstrated broad support to incorporate Iridium as a mobile satellite GMDSS provider. The most recent meeting of the MSC, held from June 7th to 16th, updated the performance requirements for GMDSS equipment to reflect the new, enhanced capabilities mobile satellite companies can offer to the service. Amendments to the SOLAS Treaty opened the door for GMDSS mobile satellite services to be provided by companies other than Inmarsat, and will for the first time in history allow mariners a choice of GMDSS mobile satellite service provider. These developments pave the way for Iridium, and other networks, to become recognized GMDSS service providers.
"We have been working collaboratively with the IMO and member states for several years. The most recent meeting rewarded the hard work with the achievement of these milestones," said Brian Pemberton, vice president and general manager, strategic planning at Iridium. "The IMO and the maritime community recognize that GMDSS needs to modernize, and additional service providers is one part of that." Pemberton continued, "Most importantly, we worked closely with the IMO to establish new standards that will bring choice and competition to this critical service area for the first time. Competition is key to ensuring that mariners are provided best-in-class communications for safety purposes, which is a must out at sea."
As the only communications company with truly global coverage, including the polar regions, the addition of Iridium as a GMDSS service provider is critical to the future of maritime safety and comes with added value for the industry. Arctic shipping routes are becoming more heavily used, including the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage, resulting in an increased need for reliable emergency communications. Iridium's GMDSS services complement the game-changing capabilities offered by the Company's next-generation communications platform, Iridium Certus. Iridium Certus will enable vessels to combine industry-leading broadband and global safety communications within a single terminal, reducing hardware and recurring costs.
"Over the last decade, we have established ourselves as a trusted player in the maritime safety and security domain," said Wouter Deknopper, vice president and general manager, maritime at Iridium. "Once we secure complete GMDSS recognition, our leadership position within this market will be strengthened. With the availability of Iridium Certus and GMDSS recognition, we will be able to provide real choice to mariners when it comes to broadband communications and critical safety services all from one terminal."
The Iridium network is a constellation of 66 low-Earth orbit (LEO), cross-linked satellites that provide reliable, low-latency satellite communications to the entire world, including the poles. The Company is in the process of replacing its existing network with new satellites, known as Iridium NEXT. This next-generation constellation is being launched by SpaceX through a series of eight launches, with two successful launches already complete. It will deliver faster speeds, higher throughputs and act as an innovation engine for Iridium partners and customers. Due to the inherent advantages of the existing network, in combination with the upcoming enhancements provided by Iridium NEXT, Iridium is the ideal network for mobile satellite communications, especially search and rescue efforts and safety services, like GMDSS.
For more information about Iridium maritime products, services and solutions, please visit https://www.iridium.com/solutions/maritime.
About Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. The company has a major development program underway for its next-generation network — Iridium NEXT. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company has based these statements on its current expectations and the information currently available to us. Forward-looking statements in this presentation include statements regarding the approval process for Iridium GMDSS services, the capabilities of new products and services, including Iridium Certus, and the timing for deployment of the Iridium NEXT constellation. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words "anticipates," "may," "can," "believes," "expects," "projects," "intends," "likely," "will," "to be" and other expressions that are predictions or indicate future events, trends or prospects. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Iridium to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, uncertainties regarding potential delays in the Iridium NEXT deployment, the development and functionality of Iridium NEXT and related products and services, and the company's ability to maintain the health, capacity and content of its satellite constellation, as well as general industry and economic conditions, and competitive, legal, governmental and technological factors. Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements include those factors listed under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on February 23, 2017, as well as other filings Iridium makes with the SEC from time to time. There is no assurance that Iridium's expectations will be realized. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if Iridium's underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Iridium's forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Iridium undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.