Currency Events

Out Of Bounds?

Not with global wireless service.

If you depend on the freedom your cell phone provides, you're going to love the new technology developed by Iridium North America, a cellular phone service provider in Tempe, Arizona. Set for launch later this month, the Iridium service promises its network of 66 satellites will keep users connected to any point on earth.

This means you can call someone on a ship in the middle of the ocean from a remote desert location--on your cell phone. The technology should come in especially handy for entrepreneurs conducting business overseas, because more than half the earth still lacks reliable telephone service. "With our satellite system, [you get] the security of being able to make and receive calls anywhere on the planet," says Iridium president Jim Walz.

The unlimited access to a phone also saves time: Who wants to be stuck in a hotel room for two hours waiting for a client to call back? Or deal with pay phones that need foreign currencies and operators who speak unfamiliar languages? Iridium is betting entrepreneurs will opt for its technology instead. "If they need to go to Japan to close a deal, for example, information retrieval in a timely and accurate way is critical," Walz explains.

Iridium's service also covers faxes and pages. Walz estimates that charges will compare to the going rates for international calls, plus a 30 percent premium per call.

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This article was originally published in the September 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Currency Events.

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