Mobile Satellite Communications – Who Are We?

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CLA SatCom, LTD. (Caribbean Latin America) was founded in early 1995 for the primary purpose of promoting the business of mobile satellite communications throughout the Caribbean and Central America. At that time, the principals of the company were maintaining an effective means of communicating with family and business interests throughout North America and the rest of the world.

The founders immediately discovered a strong market in this region of the world due to a variety of reasons. In many rural and remote areas there is no alternative to satellite communications. Land line telephones did not exist and plans for them being installed were not in the near future. Even in some metropolitan areas one could wait a year or more just for an available telephone line. In other areas, even where there was available telephone service, it was unreliable and/or very expensive, particulary calling internationally.

There was no way to anticipate the tremendous reception that was received in virtually every country from Mexico to Panama relative to this new mobile satellite communications technology. Customers begot more customers and soon the founders were unable to manage the business from the remote regions of Honduras. An available infrastructure which would support this ever increasing volume of business, was sorely needed. Advertising efforts were expanding to include South America and the Eastern Carribean, as well as the remote areas of Canada and Alaska. Coordinating the increased volume of customer inquiries from these regions became more difficult from a third world environment. The internet based portion of the business began growing exponentially. Express mail services became essential. Shipping of products and coordination of customs and duties issues grew more and more complex. Somewhat reluctantly, but eagerly anticipating expanding the business, CLA SatCom moved it’s base of operations from Roatan, Honduras to Southwest Florida in June 1997.

Already supporting a strong customer base throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the remote reaches of Canada and Alaska, CLA SatCom began looking for additional satellite communications products which would allow expanding into markets abroad feasbile. International Satellite Services, Inc (ISS) was created for the express purpose of broadening name recognition into these overseas markets as well as providing the vehicle to expand the satellite telephone rental operations in place at the time.

In the Spring of 1998, with the addition of the NERA line of Inmarsat compatible products, ISS gained the ability to do business anywhere in the world. An Iridium affiliation would soon follow as this was the next satellite constellation to enter the market with the introduction of the Iridium Motorola 9500 Handheld Satellite Phone.

ISS now represents all the major L Band Satellite Constellations (Inmarsat, MSAT Satellite, Thuraya, and Iridium) The business of choosing a mobile satellite communications device is no longer a question of spending many thousands of dollars to purchase the one terminal available to everyone. Rather it has become a far more affordable issue economically, albeit considerably more complex in terms of the myriad of product configurations, air time rate plans, satellite constellations and geographic limitations which now must figure into any buying decision.