Next: The Super-Cell

The Iridium consortium and rival joint ventures are closing in on their goal of making sat phones into multibillion-dollar mainstays of the info-superhighway

Wouldn't it be great if you could call your friends or family, your boss or stockbroker--even while you're trekking in the Himalayas? If you didn't have to lug around one of those briefcase-size satellite phones, but instead had a cell phone just slightly larger than the one you carry now? How much of a premium would you be willing to pay for such convenience? Two American-based firms with a list of global backers that reads like a high-tech Who's Who are rolling the dice in a multibillion-dollar gamble that they can answer those questions. In their effort to find that new...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!