When you're really working out in the middle of nowhere, grab that sat phone and call up Globalstar. The company provides satellite voice and data service to remote areas underserved by traditional phone service. Its network of satellites and ground stations provides service to more than 580,000 subscribers worldwide. Customers include the US government as well as companies in the energy, maritime, and mining industries with job sites underground or out at sea. Half of its ground stations are operated by independent companies that buy Globalstar's services on a wholesale basis. It also sells a handheld GPS navigation system called SPOT for adventure travelers or anyone needing a GPS device.
Globalstar divides its operations into three segments - duplex (two-way satellite communications); simplex (one-way satellite communications); and the SPOT line of consumer products. QUALCOMM, Hughes, and Ericcson are contracted to manufacture the company’s hardware, such as mobile and fixed satellite telephones and satellite data modems.
North America is the company's largest market; the US accounts for almost 70% of sales and Canada, 20%. Other customers come from Europe and South America.
Globalstar has a half-dozen locations in the US. International offices are located in Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Panama, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
Sales and Marketing
Top customers in the US and Canada beside the government are oil and gas, mining, forestry, commercial fishing, utilities, military, transportation, heavy construction, and public safety companies.
Its SPOT line of products for the consumer market is sold through major retailers such as Amazon.com and Best Buy.
Globalstar makes its money from sales of service and equipment; service accounts for 80% of sales, as equipment is only purchased periodically. Overall sales grew 8% in 2013 to $83 million as more companies signed up for satellite communications on higher rate plans.
The company’s single biggest moneymaker now is the SPOT line of consumer products and services; it makes up 40% of sales. Duplex (two-way satellite communications) makes up 36% of sales and simplex (one-way satellite communications) accounts for 15% of sales.
Globalstar aims to diversify its products and services with new offerings. In 2014 it began offering Sat-Fi, a service that turns any existing smartphone or Wi-Fi enabled device into a satellite phone. Users only need their phone or computer to access the company’s satellite network when they are outside the range of cellular phone coverage. Globalstar expects that emergency responders, marine operations, and remotely located oil and gas companies will benefit from the technology, which doesn’t require purchasing a separate satellite phone.