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Satellite Communications Technology

Communicate globally in real time at the push of a button with Iridium and Icom

(9 November 2018 - Iridium) Iridium Communications announced today that Icom Incorporated (Icom) has joined its partner ecosystem as a licensed Value-Added Manufacturer (VAM) and will be developing the world's first truly global push-to-talk-only (PTT) radio handheld.

Based in Japan, Icom is a world-class manufacturer of two-way handheld radios and will harness their extensive expertise in the making of their first Iridium handheld. This new device will be ideally suited for remote workers, first responders, global military, NGOs and other organizations in need of real-time communications throughout areas lacking ground infrastructure. Iridium PTT technology allows teams to remain closely coordinated with their headquarters or other field teams around the world, instantly, regardless of geography.

The development of this new PTT handheld comes in response to increased market demand for products that are focused on providing a rugged and high-performing solution that supports Iridium's PTT capability. Icom was chosen in large part due to their recognized expertise in the land-mobile radio (LMR) industry where they provide dozens of products through a growing portfolio. This is the first satellite-based handheld developed by Icom, and it is designed to integrate seamlessly with Icom's current selection of accessories. This will allow for the new satellite handheld to be quickly inventoried and integrated with their existing deployed products.

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Icom's first satellite PTT radio is in development and designed to work on the Iridium network. (courtesy: Iridium, Icom)

"When searching for the right partner to develop our first PTT-only handheld, we had a number of required criteria. First and foremost is a track record of world-class product success that will support the proven reliability and robustness that Iridium subscribers have come to expect," said Joel Thompson, vice president, global product and service management, Iridium. "Icom is a premier brand with recognized expertise. They fit the exact mold of everything we could want to develop a world-class product for our customers."

Both Icom's and Iridium's distribution networks will offer the new handheld, expanding Icom's presence to the satellite industry and bringing Iridium's satellite PTT capabilities to Icom's existing global sales network. The new handheld is expected to be available in 2019.

Icom President Masataka Harima says, "Icom has been developing various wireless communications equipment for land use, marine use and air band use. This satellite PTT project will be a tough challenge, but the project will fill an important piece of our product lineups that cover all areas from the surface of the earth and even into space. We continue to challenge ourselves."

Iridium is the only communications company that has truly global coverage and is currently in the homestretch of a $3 billion initiative to upgrade its entire low-earth-orbiting satellite constellation with a new generation of interconnected satellites, known as Iridium NEXT. To date, 65 new satellites have been placed in orbit, with the final launch of 10 satellites planned for December 30, 2018. Upon completion, a total of 75 Iridium NEXT satellites will have been delivered to space, with 66 in the active constellation and nine serving as on-orbit spares.

About Iridium Communications

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.