Globalstar back on track with world's first live second-generation satellite network

Globalstar Launch 2010 AfricaHaving put the finishing touches to its new US$1bn satellite constellation over the summer, Globalstar is now in the somewhat enviable position of having the world's first live second-generation network

The development follows a challenging few years, where technical issues had dogged the operator's S-band frequencies since 2007. The company, however, is now keen to tell the world that the tide has turned.

It considers itself a revitalised force in the satellite communications marketplace with one of the more affordable, high-quality offerings on the market today for northern and Central Africa.

"We've had some tough times, that fact is well documented," said Globalstar chairman and CEO Jay Monroe. “But we are now on an upward trajectory. We have successfully refinanced and have completed the world's first second-generation satellite network, which puts us way ahead of our competitors from a technology standpoint.”

Globalstar has said that its new fleet of satellites will deliver "superior service quality", making for a compelling proposition when combined with feature-rich products and pricing that it believes will offers big savings when compared to competitors.

Among its USPs, Globalstar is keen to promote the crystal-clear sound quality, and no perceptible latency, on its phones. Credit for clear sound goes to Qualcomm's CDMA technology. Globalstar is the only MSS provider to use this technology.

When most people think of satellite they initially envisage two-way phones as the only communications device. Although Globalstar has an award-winning line of satellite handsets, it has also been busy updating its family of SPOT devices, and has just launched its SPOT Gen3 GPS one-way messenger in Africa.

SPOT Gen3 provides a vital line of communication, as well as emergency assistance, for remote workers in areas where there is little or no mobile coverage in North and Central Africa. Globalstar also offers Simplex asset tracking devices in the form of SmartOne, which is designed for the intelligent management of powered and non-powered fixed and movable assets.

"Our customers are coming back, and that's really gratifying," noted Monroe.

Jamel Hajji, from Globalstar Tunisian partners VMD, said, "Globalstar's renaissance is a boon for Africa, where low-cost, high-quality mobile satellite communications is a vital business tool for many.

"Organisations in sectors as diverse as defence, security, aid, construction, mining, oil and gas and fishing are taking a fresh look at what we and Globalstar can offer. The signs so far are incredibly positive," he added.

Monroe concluded, "We want to change the way people think about satellite communications. By offering crystal clear voice on calls, the fastest data speeds in the market, and at the same time remaining the most user-friendly options in terms of cost, we think we can help many users in Africa think of satellite as their preferred day-to-day communications tool."

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