Iridium: Infrastructure for the Developing World

CITI Ph.D. Research Seminar
306 Uris Hall

April 25, 2001
1:00 - 3:00 PM

About the Workshop

The Iridium satellite telephone system was developed to capture the supposedly huge horizontal market of global business travelers who needed anytime, anyplace communications. Unfortunately, its planners did not have the foresight to predict the explosive growth of cellular telephony around the world. This lack of prescience also led Iridium management to believe it did not need to consider the vertical market.

A series of strategic and financial blunders led to the eventual bankruptcy and fire sale of the company for a paltry $25 million.

Iridium has now been able to stay afloat thanks to a deal with the Department of Defense (DOD). Under this deal the DOD has bought bulk minutes on the system for $72 million over two years. This new opportunity means that the company can start to venture into the vertical market which may prove to be a more viable business model.

This seminar examines whether the legacy Iridium satellite system can be retooled to provide telecommunications infrastructure to most of the developing world.

Directions to Columbia Business School, Uris Hall: Uris Hall is located on 3022 Broadway at 117th Street. You may enter campus through the main gates or 117th Street gates during business hours. Take bus lines (M4, M11, M5, M104) or the subways (Broadway IRT #1 and #9 locals) 116th Street.

Organized by Reuben Abraham, candidate for Ph.D., Columbia University.

RSVP: or (212) 854-4222.