Feeds

Satellite data biz ‘failed spectacularly’ – Craig McCaw

So joins with Ellipso, consolidates own satellite assets

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Telecoms entrepreneur Craig McCaw has as near as damn it admitted that mass satellite-based data networking isn't going to happen - at least in its current form.

"The mobile satellite industry has failed spectacularly in delivering on its promise to users," McCaw confessed today.

"We continue to be compelled by the scope of the market," he added, but "creative changes in both the customer proposition and service-delivery philosophy are clearly necessary to deliver on the [technology's] potential."

In short, the business model isn't going to work and in any case no one's going to buy into it.

McCaw's admission followed the announcement that his ICO-Teledesic Global, which owns the assets of New ICO and Teledesic, his two satellite service companies, will "collaborate" with Ellipso, another satellite data (and voice) operation to build a "successful mobile satellite system".

Alongside that, McCaw's holding company said that it, New ICO and Teledesic will be merged into a single operation. New ICO was formed when McCaw bought the London-based satellite data networking company a couple of years back, not long after ICO abandoned plans to create a satellite-based cellphone infrastructure and focus on data instead. That move, in turn, followed Iridium's spectacular collapse into bankruptcy.

Iridium eventually crashed completely, but not before McCaw had attempted to buy it up too.

Having bought ICO, McCaw was expected to fold the company into Teledesic. Presumably, that never happened because McCaw reckoned one or other of them could be sold off as going concerns. Pulling them together at long last - along with his comments about the satellite data business' failure - suggests he's now looking at cutting costs, potentially preparatory to flogging the lot off.

Ellipso is an obvious candidate for buyer. It too is developing a high-speed data network that operates via satellite. Unlike Teledesic and co., it reckons that by cleverly positioning its fleet of satellites it can substantially reduce the user's cost of entry.

Ellipso is, in part, backed by Boeing, which is also building ICO's satellites (Teledesic's 288-strong fleet comes from Motorola and Lockheed Martin). Whatever, the collaboration with the soon-to-be-consolidated (regulators and shareholders permitting) ICO-Teledesic suggests that both may ultimately bundled into a single company. They will certainly be brought together to create a single "ubiquitous" network.

One other item we noted is that Ellipso's design utilises "unique and patented elliptical orbits". Two points emerge. First, they presumably will allow the company's satellites to get much closer to the Earth's surface and provide better coverage. All this, we guess, is what helps get the cost of phones down. Second, how the heck do you patent an orbit? It's just a mathematical formula, for heaven's sake. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.