Globalstar’s problem, how bad?

Mega antenna prob sanwright webshots

It can be hard enough to work on, say, a megayacht satellite antenna, imagine trying to deal with “rapidly degrading amplifiers” that are inside the satellites! That’s exactly the problem poor Globalstar faces, a situation that is badly overshadowing the nifty new handset I wrote about last week. The issue was revealed in an SEC filing, and the next day the market took it seriously enough to reduce GSAT’s value by 25%. Ow! Business Week lays out the story nicely here, but no one is predicting what I imagine some cruisers want to know…will their sat phone service crap out before Globalstar can fix the amplifiers and/or launch new birds? It seems to be the general consensus that Iridium is a better system in terms of reliability and global coverage, but I know that many boaters, particularly in the Caribbean, are content with Globalstar’s lower hardware and service costs, and faster data rate. As always your comments will be appreciated, but I must warn that all commenting may get temporarily shut down as—sigh—my server issues are not totally resolved.

PS I notice that Iridium has just announced 8 new partners who will “add value” to its data services. They are all in addition to ones I hinted at in a comment the other day, and include BriarTek, makers of the ORCA MOB system. Interesting, what?

PS 2/26: Evidence mounts that Globalstar’s performance problems are real. Money quote: “In initial testing, analysts found that more than 99 percent of calls placed through the Iridium handset were successfully connected, compared to 51.3 percent of calls from the Globalstar handset. Tests also indicate that 98.1 percent of calls on the Iridium handset and 36.2 percent of calls on the Globalstar handset were successfully connected and completed without being dropped during a three-minute period.”

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

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