Globalstar Gets Funding While TerreStar Launches Bird

launchholdGlobalstar (s gsat) today closed on $738 million in financing, while rival satellite operator TerreStar (s tstr) launched its new bird, TerreStar-1. Globalstar plans to use its money to fund operations and launch a new generation of satellites in 2010 that will deliver all IP-based voice and data to its customers through 2025. Before celebrating, know that Globalstar’s new constellation of satellites will  provide speeds of up to 256kbps down.

Like the slow data speeds, the financing is less exciting than it first appears. Read More about Globalstar Gets Funding While TerreStar Launches Bird

Palm Pre Launch Lunch June 5

You don’t see a single day go by without another rumor about the launch date of the Palm (s palm) Pre, and today is no different. The Boy Genius Report has gotten hold of a presentation slide from Palm that mentions a Palm Pre Launch lunch to be held on June 5. This timing would fit right into the rumor of a June 7 official launch to steal thunder from any Apple (s aapl) iPhone announcement at the WWDC. It also makes sense from the perspective that one would assume that Palm employees would need to get a nice meal before getting slammed with work from the Pre launch.

pre-launch-1

Satellite Collision Means Tiny Outages

logoThe collision of a decommissioned Russian military satellite with one of Iridium’s birds on Tuesday will likely have few affects beyond twice-daily outages of about 5-9 minutes until another satellite fills the hole in the satellite constellation. According to Tim Farrar, an analyst at TMF Associates who covers the commercial satellite industry, Iridium has a spare satellite orbiting the earth that the company can “raise” into position to fill that hole, so the outages should only last a week or two. Read More about Satellite Collision Means Tiny Outages

Another $100 Million for Rural WiMAX Operator

As you know, we have been tracking the progress of Denver-based rural WiMAX operator Open Range Communications for quite some time now. The company has secured $100 million in funding from One Equity Partners, though it had lined up this financing as far back as March 2008. The company had previously secured $267 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Utilities Program. With this new financing, Open Range meets the conditions set by FCC, and the company can now start deploying its rural wireless broadband service under a spectrum lease agreement with GlobalStar, a satellite-based Internet service provider.

Bill Beans Jr., a veteran of the CLEC business, is the CEO of this company, while Gregory Slemons, formerly chief network officer at AT&T Wireless, is the chief operating officer. The company plans to sell 1.5 Mbps connection for $40 a month and unlimited voice for about $30 a month in regions of rural America where broadband availablity is woefully lagging

Photo courtesy of Gino via Flickr.

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Another week, another dollar.  Or whatever they say.  It’s been a busy week in the mobile tech world and we covered it all for your education, or at least your entertainment.  Here are the top stories of the week in case you missed them:

“Mapple” Lampoons the Cupertino Faithful on The Simpsons

Apple fans found their beloved company satirized Simpsons-style last night. The latest installment of the Fox cartoon featured a “Mapple” store in the beginning of the episode, a tech store where hip, young t-shirted employees take brand loyalty very seriously and display an inordinate amount of devotion to their bespectacled leader. Sound familiar?

The Mapple Store bears an uncanny resemblance to the 5th Avenue Apple Store, with the exception of being in Springfield’s Mall and not New York City. Lisa is amazed at the MyPods, MyPhones, and the Braniac Bar, where smug customer service representatives deal with Comic Book Guy’s complaints about the latest Mapple OS. Homer is intrigued by the dream-fueled, imagination-powered MyCube, whose function isn’t entirely clear, and which glows to show you that it’s not on.
Read More about “Mapple” Lampoons the Cupertino Faithful on The Simpsons

WiMAX Broadband Is Coming To the Boonies

[qi:080] Globalstar, (s GSAT) a Miliptas, Calif.-based satellite services provider, has received permission from the Federal Communications Commission to offer wireless WiMAX services using its spectrum. Earlier this year I wrote about Denver-based Open Range Communications, which got a hefty $267 million loan from the USDA to promote broadband in the boonies. They had a deal with Globalstar to use satellite maker’s Ancillary Terrestrial Component authority. That little deal needed the FCC’s blessing and now that that has happened, the two partners can go ahead and start selling broadband to about 500 rural communities.
Open Range is still keeping a low profile. All you can tell about the company is that they have access to $105 million in private equity. Bill Beans Jr., a veteran of the CLEC business, is the CEO of this company, while Gregory Slemons, formerly chief network officer at AT&T Wireless, is the chief operating officer. The plan is to sell 1.5 Mbps connection for $40 a month and unlimited voice for about $30 a month. When the service will go live– that is anybody’s guess.

Godzillathon, T-Shirt Folding: NTV Station Today

Nerd T-shirt manufacturer All Tribes has figured out exactly how to reach its target audience — a brief demonstration of how to create a cardboard folder for your t-shirts, complete with precise measurements and a soundtrack borrowed from the SNES edition of Super Mario World.

And how does James Rolfe channel his patented Angry Video Game Nerd energy for the world of film? W. James Au recaps Rolfe’s recaps of the entire Godzilla franchise at NewTeeVee Station!

Wind Energy Prospectors Use Satellites to Phone Home

You’ve got to check for wind before putting up a turbine, and wind energy prospecting is a decidedly high-tech affair. Wind energy developer Renewable Energy Systems Americas has signed an agreement to use Globalstar satellite modems to transit data from remote wind-energy monitoring stations assessing potential sites. RES tells us it already has 14 Globalstar modems out in the field transmitting data from a bevvy of far-flung anemometers and wind vanes.

Under the agreement, RES will purchase communications controllers designed by Crystalline Technology Inc. that use Globalstar’s GSP-1620 and 1720 units. Each $1,000 modem connects to Globalstar’s satellite network, which relays the information on wind speeds and consistency to RES headquarters. Read More about Wind Energy Prospectors Use Satellites to Phone Home

Satellite Mergers Ahead?

Monday’s decision by the Justice Department to allow XM and Sirius to merge, combined with incumbents such as Verizon and AT&T winning much of the spectrum on offer in the 700 MHz auction, means we’re likely see M&A among the major satellite players in the coming year.

Had a new entrant won a lot of spectrum in the auction, they could have partnered with one of the satellite operators and potentially reduced some of the costs of building out a terrestrial network as well as gotten some extra spectrum. In the last few years, there has been a plenty of speculation over spectrum among MSS players, with operators including Iridium, Globalstar, ICO Global Communications, TerreStar Corp. and Mobile Satellite Venture are all trying to operate or build out networks.

Instead of launching a satellite only-business, these companies hope to take advantage of a combined terrestrial and satellite network to offer wireless services, most likely to carriers or to governments. But a shortages of spectrum for some players, plus a Justice Department willing to let satellite deals through, means many of them may team up rather than go it alone.

Tim Farrar of research firm TMF Associates says that, given the spectrum owned and the types of satellites launched, the likeliest deals would be between Inmarsat and MSV; ICO and TerreStar; and Globalstar and Iridium. 2008 will be the year to watch this sector.