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Year In Review... Stratos

stratos_sm1210_l As 2010 closes, Stratos looks back with pride on a year marked by important milestones that further enhanced our position as a leading provider of mobile and fixed-site remote communications solutions.

This was the first full year of operation as a wholly-owned operating division of Inmarsat. As an independent subsidiary, the Company continues to demonstrate the commitment to being a multi-technology service provider, helping meet clients’ complex networking requirements with solutions from Inmarsat, Iridium, and other leading companies. Stratos’ 2010 growth strategy was successfully implemented by establishing new, substantial sales relationships with some of the world’s leading maritime, energy, mining, government and defense organizations.

stratos_sm1210_g1 One of this year’s most notable developments was the April introduction of Inmarsat’s new IsatPhone Pro handheld satellite phone. IsatPhone Pro offers a competitive alternative to the handheld, fixed, and maritime phone solutions now available in the marketplace. The service offers high-quality voice connectivity via small, affordable equipment — which is ideal for remote workers in the oil & gas, mining, government, media and first-responder communities.

Prior to the product’s introduction, Stratos already had received more than 2,000 advance orders and we were able to quickly meet customer demand after the June launch. In July, the first-ever IsatPhone Pro activation was accomplished for the Colorado Division of Emergency Management.

In the maritime market, Stratos led all Inmarsat Distribution Partners in FleetBroadband activations, including important deployments by Thailand’s Great Circle Shipping Agency and Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine Corp. The Company recently reached a milestone of 6,000 FleetBroadband activations, as ship managers were provided with powerful office-at-sea capabilities and innovative crew-communications solutions to support the recruitment and retention of well-trained seafarers.

To further strengthen maritime communications offerings, two important services were introduced. In June, the commercial availability of AmosConnect 8 was announced, the latest generation of the popular AmosConnect solution that integrates vessel and shore-based office applications. (This year, a milestone of 250 million messages sent via AmosConnect was attained.) AmosConnect 8 enhances new broadband IP-based maritime satellite services which include FleetBroadband, Iridium OpenPort and the VSAT solutions OceanVSAT and StratosITek. Integration with these broadband services enables users to control their sessions and ensure optimal airtime use directly from AmosConnect.

That same month, also announced was the commercial availability of AmosConnect Crew CommCenter, the latest version of the all-in-one communication solution for crewmembers. AmosConnect Crew enables personnel at sea to stay in contact with home via calling, email and SMS at affordable, flat global rates — thus helping retain qualified seafarers. By adding features that enable web browsing, chatting with all major Internet communities, and access to global news services, the latest version of AmosConnect Crew becomes the industry’s first complete, pre-paid onboard Internet café solution for crewmembers.

The strong penetration of the powerful BGAN service in the land-mobile sector continued to meet expectations, with key deployments in the media and mining markets. This year, BGAN from Stratos reached the milestone of 15,000 activations, with perhaps the most notable new media-market deployment coming from the BBC.

In March, Stratos provided the UK broadcaster with an Inmarsat BGAN X-Stream mobile broadband satellite service to broadcast live coverage of Helen Skelton’s record-breaking Amazon River kayak journey in aid of Sport Relief. The deployment of BGAN X-Stream to cover “Helen’s Amazing Amazon Adventure” represented BBC News’ first use of live 384 kbps video streaming from a remote location.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup also provided broadcasters with important ways to showcase BGAN’s performance and reliability. In June, Cameroon’s Equinoxe Télévision successfully deployed BGAN X-Stream to broadcast news and match results of the Cameroon national team from the World Cup in South Africa.

To increase the appeal of BGAN among broadcasters, Stratos also finalized joint-marketing agreements with Streambox and Quicklink to enable close cooperation between these codec developers and Stratos technical-support teams.

stratos_sm1210_g2 BGAN from Stratos continued to demonstrate its effectiveness in the world’s most remote regions, with successful deployments by Ray Zahab’s “Siberian Express for Water” and “Running Tunisia” expeditions and the Eddie Bauer First Ascent expedition team’s historic Mount Everest expedition. The BGAN deployment on Mount Everest made full use of Stratos ChatCard Data, which enabled each BGAN user to expand the use of their prepaid Stratos ChatCard to include Internet access.

In the defense market, communication with the edge of the network became more vital than ever before. By delivering bandwidth-intensive applications to the edge of the network, BGAN from Stratos continued helping defense organizations worldwide to improve their effectiveness and safety.

In January, the acquisition of Segovia, a leading provider of secure IP managed solutions and services to the U.S. military and government agencies, was completed. Segovia brings superb technical and customer service capability that has helped reshape the way the U.S. military solves its network-deployment challenges. Segovia operates as a separate subsidiary and is complementary to Stratos’ existing government business. By adding Segovia’s managed-services capability and secure network to our already strong position in the government market, the strategy of bringing essential mobile satcom solutions to the U.S. DoD, which is the largest customer for these services in the world, has been furthered.

More than ever before, in 2010 customers fully used and appreciated the benefits of the full suite of value-added services that are known as The Stratos Advantage, which make mobile satellite services easy to use and efficient to own. These services, including Stratos Dashboard, provide users with cost control, firewall management, full traffic information, pre-paid facilities, high security options, easy VPN access, messaging services and a full range of IP options. In fact, in April Stratos Dashboard for FleetBroadband was selected as a finalist for Technical Innovation by Seatrade Asia Awards 2010.

Customers in the energy industry continued to derive great benefit from a full range of remote-communications solutions. Forces were joined with a new Channel Partner— Zedi Inc. — to deploy the world’s first large-scale, BGAN-based SCADA network. Stratos and Zedi have neared completion of that IP-based SCADA network for a major oilfield-services company.

Stratos also deployed its new StratosMAX II broadband WiMAX service across the Gulf of Mexico region. StratosMAX II provides last-mile radio connectivity accessing Stratos’ industry-leading digital microwave network. It provides reliable voice service, high-speed Internet connectivity, Stratos Hot Spot WiFi service and a wide range of mobile communications applications to oil rigs, platforms and offshore vessels.

stratos_sm1210_bio Looking ahead to 2011, Stratos expects to continue meeting customers’ business-critical requirements by selling and supporting the latest remote-communications offerings. The Company is dedicated to helping customers achieve optimal performance and cost efficiency from these services.

As companies demand maximum value from their remote communications purchases, we expect they will continue to view Stratos as a true partner, equipped with the right combination of product selection, value-added services and ongoing support.