When you're working in the middle of nowhere, grab that sat phone and call up Globalstar. The company provides satellite voice and data service to remote areas where landlines and cell towers are few, if anywhere. Its network of satellites and ground stations provides service to more than 688,000 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 provides several services that require the user to use Globalstar equipment. The services are 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.
SPOT accounted for 42% of the company's sales in 2015, with duplex and simplex services accounting for 36% and 16%, respectively.
North America is the company's largest market; the US accounts for almost 65% of sales and Canada, 21%. Other customers come from Europe and Central 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 and outdoor stores such as REI, Cabela's, and Bass Pro Shops.
Globalstar makes its money from sales of service and equipment; service accounts for 82% of sales, as equipment is only purchased periodically. Overall sales grew just 0.47% in 2015 to $90.5 million with more subscriptions to its service. Equipment sales eroded on price cuts as the company prepared to release a new generation of products.
The company posted a $72 million profit in 2015, turning around a $463 million loss in 2014. The increase came more from financial moves concerning the company's stock and debt rather than products and services.
Cash flow from operations was $2 million in 2015, compared to $3.4 million in 2014.
Globalstar built out a new network of ground stations in 2015 and 2016 to improve coverage and quality of communication. It worked with Hughes and Ericsson on the second-generation Radio Access Network (RAN). The networks runs throughout the US, Canada, and France as well as several countries in South America and the Caribbean. With RAN, Globalstar is moving much of the heavy lifting involved in satellite communications to the network and away from the phones. Its next generation of phones are to be less expensive and smaller and capable of transmitting at higher data speeds.