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Pasifik Satelit Prepares To Launch ACeS Mobile Satellite Service

By | September 7, 2000

      It won’t be long before the question of how effective regional geostationary satellites will be in competition with the Big LEO satellite telephony provider is answered.

      P.T. Pasifik Satelit Nusantara [PSNRY] said it is conducting a “soft launch” of its Asian Cellular Satellite (ACeS) service, in preparation for the full commercial launch planned for Sept. 27.

      The service will combine GSM cellular service when the subscriber is within a GSM service area with mobile satellite service when he or she is in a remote location. It will use the dual-mode, Ericsson R190 portable phone, which weighs only 210 grams or about 7.4 ounces. It will cover an area ranging from Japan and northern China to Indonesia in the south and Pakistan in the west.

      The ACeS service will go head-to-head against Big LEO service provider Globalstar L.P. [GSTRF] in a market share battle that will be watched closely by industry insiders and Wall Street alike. With service prices expected to retail for less than $1, ACeS is already ahead of Globalstar. But there is still a question of demand for satellite telephony services. Only time will provide an answer to that question.

      …Blue Skies for ACeS?

      PSN is calling its service BYRU Satellite, which uses the Indonesian word for blue, as in the color of the sky and of outer space.

      The company began its marketing campaign with public demonstrations of the service at the CommunicASIA exhibition in Singapore in June and has followed up with companies that have operations in remote parts of the Indonesian archipelago that have limited telecommunications or none at all. It calls this the Friendly User Program.

      ACeS already has about 500 customers, 300 of which are PSN subscribers. In addition, PSN said, it already has sold about 1,200 handsets and expects that its subscriber service cards to activate the phones will be ready for the full commercial launch, said Adi Adiwoso, chief executive of ACeS International Ltd. and of PSN.

      “The high acceptance rate of our initial satellite telephony service and the remarkably positive feedback we received from these initial marketing and system tests as enabled us to reach our next vital milestone,” Adiwoso said.

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