Satellite network company Beam Communications (ASX:BCC) is ready to roll with ZOLEO, its extended-coverage mobile phone device.

The company has been working on development for most of this year, and announced this morning that pre-sales will be available from December 18 with shipments to follow in mid-January.

The device is pitched at “anyone who travels to or lives in remote areas of the globe, or who moves in and out of mobile coverage for work or play”, Beam said. It was built as part of a joint venture with US company Roadshow Inc.

With early distribution channels now activated, Beam expects sales of ZOLEO to “substantially increase group revenue” from the 2021 financial year.

Investors cheered Beam’s ability to bring its product to market, sending the stock up over 36 per cent in morning trade.


Global connection

Beam said ZOLEO gave the user text-message and email capabilities from anywhere in the world, as long as they had a clear line of sight to the sky.

To do that, the technology relies on a series of interlinked low earth orbit (LEO) satellites run by NASDAQ-listed Iridium Communications.

On pricing and distribution, each ZOLEO device will sell for $345 up front with a monthly usage plan similar to other mobile networks, ranging from $32 to $80.

Beam plans to sell the device via its own online outlet before expanding distribution through bigger channels such as Ebay and Amazon.

The company said it’s targeting an expansive market across B2B and retail channels, stemming from adventure tourists and rural residents to corporate executives and mining companies.

Beam said the concept was designed to drive recurring revenue from a “sticky” customer base. It can only be activated on ZOLEO’s own LEO satellite network, and can’t be used on competing mobile network services.


In other ASX tech news today:

Suspended payments company iSignthis (ASX:ISX) issued a revised trading update, where it said underlying earnings for the 2019 financial year were now forecast to be $6.5m, down from its prediction of $10.7m in November last year. The company said it’s debt-free with $14.5m in cash and remained on track to make its maiden full-year profit.

The company said it “experienced slower growth and lesser volumes in its forward sales pipeline as a consequence of the ASX suspension. However, ISX anticipates this will be a short-term issue that will be resolved with the lifting of the suspension”.

And health-tech platform MyFiziq (ASX:MYQ) announced that Body Composition Technologies, its 50 per cent owned joint venture partner, recently placed second at an insur-tech awards conference in Miami. The platform was cited as a solution “which could reshape the way insurers approach underwriting of current and future policies”. Shares in MYQ were down 10 per cent in morning trade at 28.5c.