Comsat signs $60 million federal satellite deal
- By Dan Verton
- Mar 20, 2000
The General Services Administration on Monday tagged Comsat Corp. for a
wide array of satellite communications services that GSA plans to make available
to all federal agencies.
The six-year, $60 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract
covers COMSAT's commercial fixed and mobile satellite services available
over both the INTELSAT and International Maritime Satellite (Inmarsat) Communications
Organization satellite systems. The agreement also allows the listing of
new offerings when they become available, such as COMSAT Mobile ISDN and
COMSAT Mobile IP, which are 64 kilobits/sec data and voice services for
land mobile customers.
News of the contract comes as Iridium LLC prepares to de-orbit its fleet of
self-named satellites, which it was unable to sell.
The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in August, terminated
The Defense Department relies on Inmarsat services for a wide range of communications
needs. However, a DOD spokeswoman said no decision has been made on what
future services the DOD will seek.
The GSA deal is not the first for Bethesda, M.D.-based Comsat. The company
won a $112 million contract last June to provide the Navy with the global
communications circuits vital to the service's "network-centric" warfare
strategy. The five-year contract called for COMSAT's Mobile Corp. subsidiary
to provide the Navy with 64-kilobits/sec pipes on Inmarsat satellites for
service to ships in deployed battle groups and amphibious ready groups.
Comsat declined to comment on the deal. However, an industry source familiar
with both Comsat and Iridium services said the turbulence in the satellite
communications industry is a concern to all competitors. "With the loss
of one competitor, there may be business to be gained [for others, such
as Comsat]," the source said. "But it is very unclear at this time."
But while Iridium had offered mostly voice services, industry sources said
Comsat is moving very strongly toward offering the full-range of data services
over their geostationary satellites.